Falcon Pass Elementary is in the business of developing truly outstanding students.
Now, thanks to the help of a $50,000 Special Innovative Grant from the Clear Creek Education Foundation, they’re able to do that and a whole lot more.
“The Clear Creek Education Foundation is excited to offer this new opportunity of funding to CCISD through Special Innovative Grants in order to fund projects on a larger level that will help take the district to the next level as a whole,” Executive Director Kaci Hanson said. “The Leader in Me program is a great investment that we will be able to assess with the hopes of expanding it across the district for a larger impact. With this new opportunity and with dynamic programs like The Leader in Me, CCEF is fulfilling its mission of providing a world-class education in CCISD.”
The $50,000 grant is supporting the implementation of The Leader in Me program, which is designed to create a culture of empowerment for students, staff and community through character development, academic goal setting and leadership.
The program utilizes Stephen Covey’s timeless 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The common language, purposeful instruction and intentional “walls and halls” support the use of lifelong tools that can be applied beyond the elementary years, Falcon Pass Elementary Principal Monica Giuffre wrote in her grant application.
“The principles of The Leader in Me program are helping us, as coaches, to empower our students to become ‘game changers’ in their education, health, community, and in their relationships with others,” said Rachel Holcomb, PE coach at Falcon Pass Elementary. “It's about kids recognizing that everyone has something to bring to the table and their potential is limitless.”
The program encompasses all academic content areas for students PK-5th, as well as character and fine arts education, Giuffre said.
“The habits taught via The Leader in Me program are lifelong habits for success,” said Heather Shaw, PTA president. “As a parent, it's important to me that my children grow into adults that are well educated, but I also think there is a much bigger picture that rounds out what constitutes a successful adult. Building this foundation of good habits will most certainly help them excel academically, but I also believe that it will build their overall work ethic and confidence to tackle any challenge life throws their way.”
Because Falcon Pass is such a unique campus in that there is a wide variety of students with varying levels of need and support, The Leader in Me program was an ideal fit for its students and staff, said Lauren Tragni, the school’s counselor.
The habits and skills taught through the Leader in Me empower all of our students, no matter their circumstances, she said.
“For students who have a strong support system at home, The Leader in Me encourages and empowers them to step up and take more of an active part, more leadership, in their life and their choices,” Tragni said. “For those students who do not have as much support, The Leader in Me empowers them to take a more active role and care about their choices and the direction of their future. The Leader in Me teaches our students and staff that anyone can be the leader of their own lives through choices and mindset, regardless of what this world ‘throws’ in our direction.”
The program will be phased in over the next three to four years and has the potential to grow with students and impact the entire PK-12 community of the Clear Lake High School feeder pattern and beyond.
But already at the start of the school year, the program is empowering students to make their own choices and show their true character, Tragni said.
“Just in these first few weeks of the school year, I have already seen my students weave The Leader in Me principles they are learning into their daily lives,” said Katherine Stathakos, a second grade teacher at Falcon Pass. “Their discussions with one another are now sprinkled with advice to one another on how to be more proactive and put first things first, both The Leader in Me habits. It is inspiring how these second graders are not only learning what these principles mean, but actually reflecting on them and using them to strengthen their character.”
But that’s just the beginning.
“The sky is the limit here,” Giuffre said. “By creating a learning culture of self-direction and leadership, students can identify and develop their talents then apply them in meaningful ways. The benefit of students knowing and owning their success will have lasting impacts in and outside of the classroom.”
For information on the Clear Creek Education Foundation’s grant opportunities and funding in CCISD, visit www.clearcreekeducationfoundation.org.