The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Nicole Becerra
For The Sentinel 

GPS kids on a beautify mission

 

Nicole Becerra.

KIDS PITCHING IN: First graders from the Goldendale Primary School hit the sidewalks of Goldendale Thursday to help plant flowers in sidewalk flower barrels.

Community group Golden Pride has been working to spruce up the community, and they have been joined by first graders from Goldendale Primary School who planted flowers in the barrels of several local businesses on Thursday, May 10, as part of the Leader in Me program.

The school's counselor, Deb Rawdon, started using the program as the focus of her lessons and eventually discovered there was a grant they could apply for to make it as she explains, "An integral part of our school culture."

After applying for and receiving this grant, Rawdon and Principal Chip Ferrell worked together with the teachers to implement Leader in Me. With the grant, they have a four-year plan to become excellent, with the teachers modeling the seven habits of happy kids, which are the same as the seven habits of highly effective people as taught by author Steven Covey. These habits include:

1. Be proactive

2. Begin with the end in mind

3. Put first things first

4. Think win/win

5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood

6. Synergize

7. Sharpen the saw

Teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria staff, and all school employees were invited to receive a training in those seven habits, so they could model them to the students. Leader in Me believes that all kids can be leaders, no matter what their age. The teachers look for leadership opportunities for their students, giving them simple duties such as answering the phone. They also work to implement these seven habits in various ways, such as reading stories and asking students which habits the characters are or should be using.

Goldendale Primary School also has a student Lighthouse team, where one student from each class, meets with Rawdon to discuss issues that need to be addressed and help solve problems. Rawdon provided an example saying, "We recently had a problem with balls disappearing, so we discussed it and decided to make certain students responsible for the balls." The school is currently working towards becoming a possible Lighthouse School that other schools may visit, to observe the Leader in Me program in action.

Contributed

KIDS PITCHING IN: Third graders from the Goldendale Primary School filled 81 bags of personal hygiene products last week to donate to local foster families in Klickitat County. The students chose this Leadership Project to help the local families in Goldendale and surrounding areas. "Goldendale Primary School is proud to be recognized as a Leader in Me School," says Danielle Blain, third grade teacher at GPS. "We believe that all of our students are leaders and allow them to demonstrate their leadership abilities in student lead action teams, student lead assemblies, student roles/jobs, and many other activities."

The school has decided to give students an opportunity every year to take what they are learning to the community. For this year's project, first grade teacher Lisa O'Leary went to work contacting certain local businesses, asking if they would be willing to work with the first grade students, by allowing them to plant flowers in their barrels. This provided not only a leadership opportunity but also gave the students hands-on experience for their current science unit, as they are studying new plants. Business owners provided the plants, while the students did the work. Golden Pride, however, will be adding more flowers to the planters around town on May 19. "It's amazing what happens when you tell kids they have the opportunity to lead, and do amazing things," Rawdon relates.

The idea is to have students take charge of their academics. They are encouraged to set goals, such as improving their reading skills by making reading a part of their daily routine. Rawdon explains that, "The ultimate goal is to have student-led conferences where students show their parents how far they have come and what they are doing to improve themselves. We like the Seven Habits because they are universal. They can be used in school, at home and in the community. We feel that teaching our students the Seven Habits of Happy Kids will help them obtain a great future."

 

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