CORTLAND — Lakeview Elementary Superintendent Scott Taylor led Acting State Superintendent Stephanie K. Siddens on a tour of the open-concept facility on Tuesday, as Lakeview educators celebrated their third year as “Leader in Me” school.
Leader in Me is a program developed by Stephen R. Covey, an American educator. It is an evidence-based model that aims to develop student leadership and life skills.
To a crowded auditorium assembly, Taylor said the program aims to show students that everyone has leadership abilities.
At Lakeview, Taylor said students participate in weekly 30-minute lessons teaching seven good habits based on Covey’s work.
Habits Lakeview students know by heart include:
• Be proactive: you are responsible
• Start with the end in mind: have a plan.
• Put first things first: Work first, then play.
• Think win-win: everyone can win.
• Seek first to understand, then to be understood: listen before you speak.
• Synergize: Together is better.
• Sharpen the saw: balance is best.
Following the meeting, a tour was organized to show the school’s open plan layout.
“The concept was to use all the space in the building instead of abandoning it for the corridors”, Taylor said. “The point of this is that kids can come to work, do things collaboratively.”
Siddens said it was one of the first such places she saw, but he thought it was ideal for student engagement and interaction.
“I loved how the kids seemed to go with the flow. They went out working together and they weren’t fazed by all the activity that was going on. Sidens said.
Taylor hopes the common space will encourage students to develop the skills employers seek. They learn early on the importance of working together, he said.
Looking around the building, there is a noticeable lack of a library: this has been replaced with books that students can consult spread throughout the building.
The layout of the common space includes lockers for students and plenty of room to move from class to class.
Classrooms have large glass garage doors that educators can close or keep open to the common space. Some rooms also include dividers that allow classrooms to combine into one large space.
A standout feature of the building is a rooftop garden. Students can use the space to take courses but also grow fruits and vegetables. Taylor said local 4-H uses the area for summer programs.