Penn Yan Elementary hosts Leadership Day

Gwen Chamberlain
Penn Yan Elementary School hosted Leadership Day on May 18. Riley Dallos, a Penn Yan third grader, reads about Habit #3: Put First Things First. “This is an important habit to live by because you get all the important things done first, when they need to be done, and then you get to do the fun things,” she said.

There can be no doubt that Penn Yan Elementary students, teachers and staff are fully invested in The Leader in Me,  the program based on Dr. Steven Covey’s books and teachings.

Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” have become a way of life in the elementary school building, and it was clear to see during last Friday’s Leadership Day.

Representatives from Penn Yan community groups and from several area school districts and Keuka College were taken on tours through the building before a large assembly in the gymnasium.

During the assembly, each class and every student participated in several activities demonstrating the 7 Habits:

• Be proactive - presented by second grader Lily Berch

• Begin with the end in mind - presented by kindergartener Ryan Dann

• Put first things first -?Presented by third grader Riley Dallos

• Think win-win - presented by fifth grader Noah Detar

• Seek first to undertand then to be understood - presented by second grader Maddi Martini.

• Synergize - presented by first grader Morgan Andersen.

• Sharpen the saw - presented by fourth grader Jeff Kinyoun.

During the assembly, which was hosted by fifth grader Kailee McCormick, seven pupils from different grades described the habits.

Kindergartener Ryan Dann read the following to the packed gymnasium:

“Habit #2 is Begin with the End in Mind. I plan ahead and set goals. Even when I am playing with my toys I set goals for myself. I like to play with Legos. Right now I am working on a Lego museum. I am planning to build construction equipment for my museum and I have an idea of what I want it to look like. I need to find the right Lego pieces before I begin to build. I am an important part of my classroom and contribute to my school’s mission and vision, and look for ways to be a good citizen. Every day I go to school and have the goal of getting a green star at the end of the day. In order to get a green star, I need to be a really good student. I need to be a good friend and set a good example. I always get a green star! Begin with the End in Mind. Set goals. Make a plan. Planning ahead always leads to good things.”

Following the assembly, guests visited classrooms, where students demonstrated how the 7 Habits are incorporated into the daily routine. Then, over lunch, the group participated in a panel discussion.

The program is in its first year at the elementary school, although some teachers had been informally using the concepts after teacher Kelly Johnson begain study groups around the books.

Johnson has since become a trainer in the 7 Habits, and is offering to work with businesses and organizations in the community.

Doug Tomandl, former Assistant Superintendent for Business, returned to Penn Yan for part of the day to accept an award for his efforts in getting the program started. Tomandl, who is now employed by the Weedsport School District, said it was nice to get to see the progress that’s been made.

If you are interested in learning more about The Leader in Me program, or to contact Johnson about training for your organization, contact Gail Owen at the school at 315-536-3346.