Tri-County Alliance unveils mini-documentary highlighting how Longacre Elementary is helping every child be a leader

Oakland Co. school’s students excel with trailblazing ‘Leader in Me’ approach

FARMINGTON – Tri-County Alliance for Public Education today unveiled a mini-documentary highlighting Longacre Elementary School in Oakland County for using an innovative and unique approach to empower its students – by helping them excel as leaders, students and individuals.

TCA developed the 5-plus-minute documentary to highlight Longacre’s “Leader in Me” model as part of TCA’s “It’s about Kids” campaign highlighting public schools doing innovative things despite budget cuts and tight finances (VIDEO: http://tricountyalliance.org/itsaboutkids/).

“Across Michigan, schools are finding innovative local solutions to help kids learn and succeed, and Tri-County Alliance is excited to highlight the terrific work that Longacre Elementary School is doing to help kids succeed from the earliest stages of their academic careers,” TCA Executive Director Mark Burton said. “Thanks to Longacre’s groundbreaking effort, kids are solving problems, collaborating with each other and learning life skills that will make them outstanding members of their communities and terrific employees in the future. Efforts that empower kids like the one at Longacre are critical to the success of Michigan’s children, helping them get the skills they need to compete in a 21st century economy.”

In 2012-13, Longacre officially implemented the “Leader in Me” model, which is based on the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” and tailored for students to be incorporated into a school setting. That meant raising thousands of dollars to pay for a three-day training and materials – with teachers, staff and administrators often using their own personal money. Principal Barb Elson was the catalyst for the Longacre model, bringing the idea back to her school after reading about and then visiting A.B. Combs Elementary School in Raleigh, N.C. The school turned itself around after implementing the “Leader in Me” model in 1999. By 2006, Combs Elementary was ranked the No. 1 magnet school in the nation.

Today, Longacre is one of 102 schools worldwide that is a certified “Lighthouse School,” meaning the school and its 300-plus students successfully met 144 criteria identified as critical to the development of leadership within children.

The seven “Leader in Me” habits are: “Be proactive,” “Begin with the end in mind,” “Put first things first,” “Think win-win,” “Seek first to understand, then to be understood,” “Synergize,” and “Sharpen the saw.”

Other schools that will be featured in the “It’s about Kids” campaign include Avondale High School (Avondale School District) in Oakland County; and New Haven High School (New Haven Community Schools) in Macomb County. In addition to Longacre’s success through the “Leader in Me” program, others that have been featured include the basketball championship program at Downriver High School that is helping turn around the lives of youth facing academic and discipline challenges, and a technology program that was developed by an entire community and is helping improve learning at Edison Elementary and other Fraser Public Schools.

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