While STEM education continues to improve nationally and computer education in grades K-12 remains a hot trend, some schools in Frisco are addressing an equally critical gap.
A study conducted several years ago by Fast Company noted that managers identified a significant lag in “soft skills” among even college graduates – leadership skills, critical thinking skills, and the ability to work as a team were deficient.
Leadership Prep School in Frisco is working to help close that gap. Their mission is “to inspire students to learn, grow, and lead for a lifetime,” and they take the third verb in that mantra seriously.
Instilling leadership qualities in their students is a daily business on the West Frisco campus. Just as technology infuses every course and every classroom, administrators and teachers work to instill leadership values and soft skills at every turn.
One of the ways that Leadership Prep works to create leaders is by using a nationally acclaimed program called “The Leader in Me,” a curriculum designed around Stephen Covey’s bestselling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
LPS engages students around Covey’s Seven Leadership Principles by using catchy phrases and terminology that students can understand. The habits give teachers a way to hold students accountable in specific ways using language that students can relate to but that also provides them with an understanding of skills that will prove indispensable in later workplaces.
For instance, Habit 1, “Be Proactive – You’re in Charge” reminds students to take the initiative rather than waiting for answers or leadership from other people.
Habit #5, “Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood – Listen Before You Talk” helps guide students as they learn to communicate effectively with each other, teachers, parents, and administrators. Corley Randolph, a representative for LPS, commented,
The school is working hard to raise the bar in the leadership space for education k-12, especially focusing on communication skills, interpersonal Skills, , and critical thinking, etc.
The programming is inspiring students to step out of their comfort zones. One student was so impressed by The Leader in Me program that she approached her local temple leadership about starting a leadership program based on the 7 Habits there.
Twins Carley and Alyssa Thornton, who were born with Von Willerbrand disease (a rare blood disorder that requires ongoing supervision), headed to the state capital as representatives of the Texas Bleeding Disorder Coalition to encourage their representatives to support House Bill 1508, the bill that designates March as Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month.
Covey’s Leadership Program isn’t the only way that LPS is working to cultivate leaders though. The school is committed to supporting students who take the initiative, even when that means being flexible and deviating from their typical programming.
Blake Gribbin became Leadership Prep’s first graduate on June 19, 2019. When Gribbin first chose LPS, he wanted to enter the school at above-normal grade level. He was inspired by LPS’ commitment to partner with his goal to graduate early.
Teachers and staff worked together to create programming to support Gribbin’s personal goal and continued to help him achieve those goals when an illness mid-year almost threatened his graduation plans. In the school newsletter, Principal Audra Floyd commented,
I believe leadership’s about meeting student-learners where they are. Instead of having them run through hoops, we should use resources and staff to support and encourage them to finish. We’re proud that Blake and his family trusted us—but we’re also happy that this situation has allowed us to see what we can actually do for our current students and hopefully more to come.
“The one thing I appreciate about LPS is their willingness to always make it work. They never let me fail,” Gribbin commented.
Indeed, that’s the goal of LPS for all of their students, as staff and teachers work through curriculum programming and their own living examples to create thoughtful leaders every day right here in Frisco.