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Hancock Teachers in training hear message: “Leader and me”


Today at North Hancock Elementary School an event was held with the topic – “Leader and Me”. The speaker was Muriel Summers, with the Franklin Covey Educational Foundation – the message – creating better adults through education of children.

The subject of Ms. Summers seminar is based on the book “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” brought down to a level that the youngest student can grasp. The lessons being taught by Ms. Summers are certainly relevant in today’s uncertain world. There are many social issues Teachers must deal with that have nothing to do with Reading and Writing. They are about making good citizens out of each student that crosses their path. It is a monumental job. And a critical one.

Muriel Summers, Global Ambassador for the “Leader in Me” . The seminar included every staff member of the elementary school. From custodial to principal and everyone in between. Ms. Summers was recently in Warren county. She notes: “ The purpose is to provide a foundation to teach children softer skills.” When prompted to explain a “softer skill” she described them as being “prioritization, how they use their time, how they resolve conflict, how they achieve goals.” It seemed a tall order but she has had great success teaching the adults how to teach the children. She says the program is not new, but remains relevant to the times.

Summers began to integrate the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” with the standard children’s books, such as “The little Red Hen.” She points out that the same habits in the children’s tales can be applied to the teachings in the classroom. Summers points out the progress that is made when we take charge of who we are. “Teaching children respect, kindness and compassion”. Her les sons are being taught to preschoolers through High School. The younger the student is the better the odds are that they will carry those lessons in their everyday lives. Possibly by the time they get to High School the young adult will be much more able to cope with life’s’ ups and downs.Kelly Moore, Principal of N. Hancock Elementary School told of her excitement at having Ms. Summers come to her school. “I’m not sure people realize how big this is for us.” There is no doubting Summers credentials. She has been an educator for most of her adult life.

Summers has been meeting with business leaders, asking what they are looking for when they hire. She says “what I am being told time and time again, it is more about the softer skills.” Work ethic, prioritization, communication, or simply to show up for work.” She went on to say most employers can teach skills unique to the job but what they can’t teach is responsibility, kindness, compassion and respect for each other. In other words, qualities that used to be taught at home are now falling to the educators. Not an easy task. According to Summers, “teachers are the lifeline.”

Two of the staff attending the seminar, Heather Miller, art teacher and Jenna Cowan a teachers aid. These two women are face to face with our children the majority of their day. It is comforting to know these women are willing to learn these skills to help your children navigate life.

Miller describes it this way, “when the kids come into my classroom, they will be using the other side of their brain.” She makes the point that in art class, they can see an end result to the task ahead of them, be it a painting or sculpture. “Begin with the end in mind” She stresses never using “I can’t.” It hinders progress. Miller says the program has been very helpful. For this reporter, hearing the fun and laughter from all the staff while they were “in class” suggests the program is working

By Celia Ferrand

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