Penn Yan teachers want students to be leaders

Gwen Chamberlain

The Penn Yan School Board heard a presentation from several elementary school teachers and administrators seeking board support to initiate a new program — The Leader in Me.

Based on the popular concepts outlined in Steven Covey’s bestselling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, The Leader in Me is a program that can be integrated into the school’s core curriculum, becoming part of the school’s culture, according to material provided on the program’s website.

Adapted to be relevant to elementary age school children, the  “habits” help students become responsible, creative and able to resolve conflicts, according to teacher Kelley Johnson.

The program is based on teaching the following seven habits:

• Be proactive

• Begin with the end in mind

• Work before play

• Think win-win

• Seek first to understand, then to be understood

• Synergize

• Sharpen the Saw

Fourth grade teacher Erin Cunningham said she has been incorporating the habits in her classroom, and she has seen a change in her students, as have some parents who have commented to her this year.

Physical Education Teacher Jon McKerchar said visiting Winchester Elementary School (in western New York), where The Leader in Me program is being used, was an amazing experience. “From the beginning, we knew that the students owned the school. They lived the seven habits,”  he said.

Other business at the June 8 regular meeting included:

•FEASIBILITY STUDY: The board approved a  recommended proposal for a feasibility study for sharing services with the Dundee and Marcus Whitman School Districts. The Dundee School board accepted the proposal Thursday .

• RECOGNITION: A number of school district staff who are retiring at the end of the school year were thanked for their years of service to the school district (and the year they started at the district). They are Ray Barone, school psychologist (January 1980); Sandy Birmingham, home & careers (September 1975); Ed Bronson, elementary principal (February, 1979); John Manley, physical education (September 1973); Gene Murphy, elementary teacher (September 1993); Kathy Orr, teaching assistant (September 1990); Joyce Simons, bus driver (September 1971); Linda Snyder, reading teacher (September 1992); Levi Titus, monitor (March 1990); Margaret White, English teacher (September 1997).

• TENURE: The following staff received tenure: Matt Abraham, social studies; Brian Cobb, English; Bobbie Dardano, English; Jessica Furber, art; Jill MacKerchar, physical education; Rebecca Morse, elementary education; Amanda O’Neil, special Education; Patty Queener, teaching assistant; Tim Scutt, teaching assistant; Ashley Tapscott, English; Samantha Warren, elementary education.

• BOARD OF EDUCATION RECOGNITION: The board also thanked Michael Van Wormer for his service on the school district’s board, and Interim Superintendent Thomas Cox for his work at the school district following Ann Orman’s retirement. Cox will begin his next interim stint at Lyndonville July 1.

• EXECUTIVE SESSION: The board entered executive session for negotiations.