Mukilteo Elementary – Leader in Me Lighthouse School


At Mukilteo Elementary, students are learning much more than the three Rs – they also are learning how to be tomorrow’s leaders.

The school held its second Leadership Day on March 15 to share how seven habits of leadership have been incorporated into the curriculum.

About 100 educators from across the U.S. and Canada got to see firsthand how Mukilteo Elementary is developing leaders with the skills needed for success.

Mukilteo Elementary is one of the first schools in the state to implement the Leader In Me program, which integrates Steven Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” into the school culture. The program aims to empower students and unleash their full potential.

The program is also being implemented at other elementary schools in the Mukilteo district, including Endeavour, Serene Lake, Columbia and Fairmount.

The “Seven Habits” teaches students how to be responsible, show initiative, be creative, set and meet goals, get along with people of various backgrounds and cultures, resolve conflicts and solve problems.

“We’re really passionate about it; we really see it’s going to make a difference for our kids,” Mukilteo Elementary principal Pat Cushing said.

“We really believe that with every fiber of our being, and we believe in it so much that we want to share it with other educators.

“If all of our youngsters are learning these seven habits, what is going to happen is we’re going to change the world.”

Mukilteo Elementary was presented the Lighthouse School Award last week, meaning the school is a “beacon” for all other schools in implementing the Leader In Me program. The school is the 24th in the U.S. and Canada to receive the honor.

The school is in its second year of implementing the three-year Leader In Me program into the school culture and as a learning tool.

The teachers were trained first, then integrated the habits into the lessons and the classroom language.

“The kids embrace [the habits] so well because they make sense,” third grade teacher Lindsay Middaugh said. “They give us a common language to work with.

“All I have to do is say the words, and they know exactly what I mean.”

In addition to the curriculum and instruction, Mukilteo Elementary integrated the seven habits into the school culture through signs, inspirational quotes, new systems and new traditions.

“If we teach our children really strong habits, and they are able to be competent learners in that they are able to understand where their goals are and how they are going to meet those goals… then they’ll be prepared to solve 21st century problems,” Cushing said.

Covey’s “Seven Habits” teaches businesses to train employees for success. His follow-up book, “The Leader In Me,” teaches the habits to children.

Mukilteo Elementary is already seeing results, such as higher academic achievement, fewer discipline problems, and increased engagement among teachers and parents.

“We’re seeing a lot of changes in our school,” Cushing said. “The kids are nicer to each other. Students are saying bullying has gone down.”

The seven leadership habits are:

• Be Proactive

• Begin with the End in Mind

• Put First Things First

• Think Win-Win

• Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

• Synergize

• Sharpen the Saw

Fourth grader Chloe Dylla said the habit Put First Things First has helped her stop procrastinating.

“I put first things first and I get my homework done, and then I have the rest of the afternoon to play,” she said.

Fourth grader Sloane Laudenback said the habit Sharpen the Saw changed his life. Sharpen the Saw means to take time to relax the body and mind, such as through a hobby.

“It means to eat healthy and sleep well, it means to keep active and keep your mind open to new ideas,” he said. “All of these things keep your body and mind healthy.

“It helps you have a well-rounded life and helps you to want to learn and take part in all the other habits.”

To learn more about the Leader In Me program, go to

Posted on April 9, 2012 at 10:36 am
Shawna Brenneke | Category: Uncategorized

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