Our Journey to become a Lighthouse School

In the fall of 2013, the faculty and staff decided to adopt the Franklin Covey program entitled Leader in Me and we began our journey toward excellence! 

The Leader in Me is a whole-school transformation model that acts like the operating system of a computer-it improves the performance of all other programs. Based on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, The Leader in Me equips students with the self-confidence and skills they need to thrive in the 21st-century economy.

What would be possible if our school were filled with students who were responsible, who showed initiative, who were creative, who knew how to set goals and meet them, who got along with people of various backgrounds and cultures, and who could resolve conflicts and solve problems?

This is reality at Leader in Me  schools across the country. It started in 1999 when struggling school A.B. Combs Elementary was asked to reinvent itself or be shut down. When Principal Muriel Summers asked parents and business leaders what they wanted in their schools, she heard the following:

  • Leadership
  • Accountability
  • Adaptability
  • Initiative and Self-Direction
  • Cross-Cultural Skills
  • Responsibility
  • Problem Solving
  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Teamwork

This feedback represents what most people believe - that our schools should not merely be focused on improving test scores, but should provide opportunities for students to develop their full potential. As Muriel searched for answers, she attended a 7 Habits workshop and noticed how comprehensive the habits were in covering the same needs expressed by her community. She and staff developed a leadership theme and a school mission statement:  To Develop Leaders, One Child at a Time. They taught the 7 Habits not as a curriculum, but in a ubiquitous fashion, integrating them into the curriculum, traditions, systems, and culture of A.B. Combs.


Ultimately, PHES is working toward Lighthouse Status within the Leader in Me program. What does this mean?

Lighthouse recognition comes because of the results a school is achieving and the impact it is having on staff, students, parents, and the greater community. It typically takes two to three years, but can be achieved sooner if school's make it a priority to achieve results sufficient to pass the Lighthouse review. The review evaluates the schools performance against nine criteria:

  1. A Lighthouse Team is in place at the school, meets regularly, and oversees school wide implementation of the leadership model with students, staff, parents, and community members.
  2. The school-campus environment reinforces the model by adding leadership-language displays and bulletins to hallways and classrooms that emphasize individual worth and leadership principles.
  3. Teachers integrate leadership language into school curriculum and instruction daily.
  4. The staff collaborates and works together to effectively build a culture of leadership in classrooms and throughout the school.
  5. The students are provided with meaningful student-leadership roles and responsibilities.
  6. The parents of students understand The Leader in Me model and the 7 Habits, and are involved in activities that support the leadership model.
  7. A system is in place for setting and tracking school wide, classroom, academic, and personal goals.
  8. The school sees improvements resulting from implementing The Leader in Me  process, which includes measuring, collecting baseline data, and tracking results to determine how the leadership model is bringing improvements.
  9. The school holds events to share their leadership model with the community and other schools, and hosts a mini or full Leadership Day or a similar event that includes parents, business partners, and educators.