Mar 13, 2018

Toll Gate Elementary named Leader in Me Lighthouse School

The Leader in Me Lighthouse School badge

In January, Toll Gate Elementary was named a Leader in Me Lighthouse School by FranklinCovey Education. According to FranklinCovey, schools that achieve the Lighthouse School milestone are great examples of a strong leadership model and display what it means to be a Leader in Me school. Watch the Lighthouse School announcement here.

The Leader in Me is a whole-school transformation model—developed in partnership with educators—that empowers students with the leadership and life skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. It is based on principles and practices of personal, interpersonal, and organizational effectiveness.

Four years ago, Toll Gate became a Leader in Me school. Since then, students and staff have been working hard to achieve the accomplishment of a Lighthouse School. “We are proud of our school community for working together to achieve this,” said Principal Kristi Motsch. “It is an honor to know that students and staff feel valued and can show their special talents by finding their own voice to make our school great!”

Having reached Lighthouse status and now being considered an exemplar school by FranklinCovey, Toll Gate welcomes other districts throughout the state to take student-led tours of the school. Students share information about school programs and their progress toward different goals with the guests. “The tours provide our students with even more opportunities to show how they are leading their learning here at Toll Gate Elementary,” said Motsch.

Toll Gate demonstrates Lighthouse status in many different ways. For example, each student has a leadership notebook that helps track both academic and personal goals and achievements. All students meet monthly in student leadership teams to discuss and enjoy areas of interest, such as robotics, running club, knitting, and chess.

Students also have the opportunity to earn a Leadership Badge for exhibiting one of the eight habits that Toll Gate practices (listed below). In effort to implement leadership language throughout the school, Toll Gate has a student Lighthouse team that helps to plan school-wide activities and goes to PTSO meetings to present different curriculum used at school. To integrate a system for tracking and highlighting goals, Toll Gate holds a school-wide Gator Gathering every month to honor both school achievements and individual student achievements.

Becoming a Lighthouse school represents a significant benchmark. Applying for the honor typically occurs three to five years after a school begins The Leader in Me process. Leader in Me schools that receive Lighthouse distinction demonstrate the following criteria:

  • The school-campus environment that reinforces the leadership model by displaying leadership language that emphasizes individual worth and potential in hallways and classrooms.
  • Teachers who integrate leadership language into school curriculum and instruction.
  • Staff who collaborate and work together to effectively build a culture of leadership.
  • Students who are provided meaningful student-leadership roles and responsibilities, such as mentoring, public speaking, and serve as school tour guides and greeters.
  • Parents who are given opportunities to learn The Leader in Me model and the 7 Habits, and who are involved in activities that support the leadership model.
  • A system that sets and tracks school-wide, classroom, academic, and personal goals.
  • Leadership Events that allow students to practice their leadership skills (e.g., public speaking, sharing data, confident greetings, etc.) with community business partners, parents, and other educators.
  • A school leadership team that meets regularly and oversees school-wide implementation of the leadership model with the help of students, staff, parents, and community members.
  • Measurable improvements in teacher engagement, parent satisfaction, student behavior, and academic alignment are shown by comparing baseline data with the tracking of ongoing data.

The Eight Great Traits of Toll Gate
Habit 1- Be proactive: You’re in charge
Habit 2- Begin with the end in mind: Have a plan
Habit 3- Put first things first: Work first, then play
Habit 4- Think win-win: Everyone can win
Habit 5- Seek first to understand, then to be understood: Listen before you talk
Habit 6- Synergize: Together is better
Habit 7- Sharpen the saw: Balance feels best
Habit 8- Find your voice, and inspire others to find theirs