In 2016, Highland Elementary and Monroe Center Grade School in the Meridian CUSD 223 school district began the adoption of Leader in MeLeader in Me is a character education program based on the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Leaders. This program from Franklin Covey provides direct instruction to students on how they can use the habits to help develop individual skills, skills to collaborate with their peers, and skills to work through peer conflict.

Thereare over 5,000 Leader in Me schools across the globe, including 74 schools in Illinois. While schools implement Leader in Me they are able to follow a rubric that helps to provide a base for best practice and what exemplary school practices look like. Lighthouse Schools serve as exemplars for other Leader in Me schools around the area, the nation, and the globe.

As of May 2023, there were less than 700 Lighthouse Schools worldwide.

On Monday, May 22, principals at both Highland Elementary and Monroe Center Grade School were notified that they had achieved Lighthouse status.

To become Lighthouse Schools, both Highland Elementary and Monroe Center Grade School went through a rigorous process that included the creation of an evidence binder, multiple visits from their regional coach, and a full-day visit from outside evaluators.

Both schools were measured in their outcomes as related to teaching leadership principles, creating a leadership culture, and having aligned academic systems.

Highland Elementary and Monroe Center Grade School will join eight other Illinois Lighthouse schools. “Our vision is that we have small-town values and world-class results, and this is an example of that”, stated Dr. PJ Caposey, Superintendent of Schools.

“Less than 14 percent of Leader in Me schools worldwide are recognized as Lighthouse Schools and having two schools in our small rural district is a testament to the amazing work of our staff, families, and most importantly our students,” said Dr. Joe Mullikin, Assistant Superintendent and Principal of Highland Elementary School.

“Seeing the remarkable leadership taken on through the work that is done by staff and students, and the pride that is taken in this work, is one of the most rewarding and exhilarating feelings”, said Mrs. Deana Simpson, Principal at Monroe Center Grade School, “I have never been more proud.”

Becoming a Lighthouse School is no small task and the staff and students within the district have done incredible work to get to this point in the journey.

More information about The Leader in Me program and Lighthouse Schools can be found here:

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