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SRI students demonstrate leadership

Published on Friday, May 6, 2022

girl showing mom leadership notebook close up of student worksheet

BCSD photos / Monica Kreber


It has been a pretty busy year at Sangaree Intermediate.

Students are busy serving in different clubs and organizations in varying leadership roles. They have worked hard on their math fluency, and have now turned their attention to reading. They are also making daily notes in their leadership notebooks to track their progress at a personal, class and school level.

Lately, they have worked on planning a special Leadership Night for their parents to showcase all the leadership abilities they have garnered over the past year; the big event was held Thursday night at the school, and it was Sangaree Intermediate’s first-ever Leadership Night.

Sangaree Intermediate is in its second year as a Leader in Me School. The Leader in Me model was developed by Franklin Covey and teaches 21st century leadership and life skills to students while creating a culture of student empowerment based on the idea that every child can be a leader.

Leadership Night was more than a showcase of all the students’ leadership roles; it was also a night to celebrate, as the school has made strides in math fluency. Sangaree Intermediate has implemented some “Wildly Important Goals (or W.I.G.s)” at school as part of their Leader In Me program, and the big school-wide goal was to improve students’ multiplication fact fluency from 22 percent to 85 percent by this June. To achieve this goal, students take a five-minute timed assessment every Wednesday.

Not only did the school reach that goal a month early – they surpassed it by 1 percent, Principal Angel Siegling said.

The school wanted to focus on math after taking a look at some of its biggest learning gaps for third through fifth grade. Multiplication fluency is vital for students to perform all other math skills.

“It just shows what everyone can do when they have a common goal,” Siegling said.

Leadership Night started off with students heading to their classrooms with their parents to show off their leadership notebooks, which they have used to track their own progress for both personal goals and academic goals. Academic-wise, a student may record something like wanting to raise a grade in a subject area, and will monitor their strategies to achieve that goal throughout the week. A personal goal is a little more general and can apply to something like learning a new hobby or helping out more around the house.

“Students just really feel empowered whenever they get to see their growth and explain what they’ve been doing all year,” Siegling said.

Parents were also invited to meet and greet with different student clubs and organizations where they demonstrate their leadership – and Sangaree Intermediate has a ton of things for its students to get involved in: the Lighthouse Team (which organized Leadership Night), Gym Crew, Office Operators, Flag Flyers and Safety Squad, to name just a few.

The Lighthouse Team wrapped up the night with a talent show called “Habit Idol”; fourth-grader Amalia Ortiz served as the talent show’s emcee. Participating students were asked to come up with a song about the Seven Habits, which are seven leadership-based concepts students practice in Leader in Me schools. Parents could vote on their favorite performance; fourth-grader Marlei Bennett ended up winning over the audience with his impressive inflection. students on stage with seven habit signs

The event was very well attended by families – it ended up being “standing room only” in the multi-purpose room.

“The community support was incredible,” Siegling said. “It just shows how much the community is supportive of Leader in Me, and our students feeling empowered and everyone pretty much being ‘all in’ with the theme, ‘Lead like a Champion.’”

Siegling added that the theme is really what Leader in Me is all about.

“We want to teach our students that everybody can be a leader,” she said, “and Leader In Me really does develop the whole person.”

The school is now focusing on reading fluency, and next school year they will have a third W.I.G. that staff will pick out this summer.

In the meantime, students are working on their reading fluency by working with their classmates and teachers on reading aloud, as well as utilizing iReady, an online assessment and instruction system that helps teachers provide students a path to proficiency and growth in reading and math.

Ultimately, Siegling said, Sangaree Intermediate’s teachers are the “golden ticket” to the students’ success.

“There’s no better thing than a teacher,” she said.



Monica Kreber