Entering its second year, FitzHugh Park’s “The Leader In Me” program promotes positive change, habits and community

Fitzhugh Park Elementary School embarked last week on its second year of participating in an innovative and groundbreaking whole-school transformation program that gives educators, administrators and students the tools and encouragement to create positive change in their communities and fully recognize the power of leadership.
The Leader In Me program, first instituted in the 2016-2017 school year and made possible by a grant from Oswego’s Richard S. Shineman Foundation, has taken hold at Fitzhugh by tapping into Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and building on the premise that every child possesses unique strengths and has the ability to be a leader.
The Seven Habits guide educators and students at Fitzhugh in many of the important decisions being made on a daily basis and are used to help build strong classroom communities which support connections with students.
“Everybody can be, and everybody should be, a leader and everybody can win if we use these skills,” said guest speaker Joe Trionfero, who addressed a full assembly of Fitzhugh’s students from kindergarten through sixth grade
Trionfero’s high-energy, interactive multimedia presentation welcomed back a gymnasium packed with cheering, laughing students for another year of The Leader In Me and encouraged them to constantly engage in all Seven Habits, like “Be Proactive,” “Begin With The End In Mind,” and “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.”
Last year, Fitzhugh took for its year-long theme the concept of “synergy” – a tenant of the Seven Habits that stresses “together is better.”
For the 2017-2018 school year, Fitzhugh will adopt “think win-win” for its theme, imparting to students that by building good relationships, being kind and keeping commitments, they can look for options that work for both sides in any conflict.
“The Seven Habits are leadership principles and tools that are embedded into every area of our school environment: culture, social and emotional, and academic that lay the foundation for our students to be Fully Prepared and Life Ready,” said Judith Osetek, a Fitzhugh teacher who also serves as one of the faculty coordinators for The Leader In Me as part of its Lighthouse Team.
Photo caption
Fitzhugh Park Elementary School Principal Donna Simmons leads students during an assembly to kick off the second year of the school’s participation in the Leader In Me program, which promotes positive change for the school community and builds leadership skills in each child. Also pictured is guest speaker Joe Trionfero.