Dublin’s Parent University: “What Made Maddy Run”

The Dublin Difference, Leader in Me, and the Places You’ll Go!
By Stu Harris, Board of Education Member

To learn more about each of our buildings and their achievements, the Dublin School Board likes to hold one of our monthly meetings in one of our great schools across the district spanning three counties—Franklin, Union, and Delaware. This is a great opportunity to visit and learn about what’s happening in the school from teachers, staff, parents, and most importantly students.  The students lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance and then we learn about the great programming in the building. It is always an excellent opportunity to see how our students and teachers are delivering the Dublin Difference.

Recently, we had the pleasure to visit Thomas Elementary and learn from students, parents and staff about the benefits of the Leader in Me program at the school.  During the Leader in Me program, students learn positive perspectives on meeting challenges and navigating life.  Students learn Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Happy Kids, a spin-off from his original book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The program also encourages students to set and track personal goals and to take leadership roles whenever possible. It encourages and teaches students to take personal responsibility, as well as how to effectively communicate and work with others.

This program teaches students the 7 Habits of Happy Kids which are listed below.

Habit 1: Proactive
You’re in Charge

Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind
Have a Plan

Habit 3: Put First Things First
Work First, Then Play

Habit 4: Think Win-Win
Everyone Can Win

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Listen Before You Talk

Habit 6: Synergize
Together Is Better

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
Balance Feels Best

Parents and students work on these concepts together in conjunction with the school’s guidance counselor.  In 2018, the Board visited Deer Run Elementary to see the great things happening there and learned about their Leader in Me program as well.

This set of ideas fits perfectly with the District’s Profile of a Graduate. In the spring of 2017, our academic team conducted 71 focus groups involving more than 670 parents, teachers, students, business and industry partners, city government officials and administrators. More than 2,100 data points were collected to put together the Profile of a Graduate document.

This work reflects our community’s priorities and expectations of the skills and knowledge sets Dublin City Schools graduates should possess.

The Profile lives under the District’s guiding principles which are providing a world-class education, developing thinkers, delivering the Dublin Difference and continuously improving in everything we do.

The Profile itself is divided three sections: Knowledge, Skills and Habits.

The Knowledge section contains concepts such as global awareness, civic engagement, college and career ready, digital and financial literacy, career opportunities, and a well-rounded curriculum. Under Skills, the traits listed include create and innovate, think critically and flexibly, collaborate, communicate with confidence, solve problems, manage time, and choose happiness. Habits we want our graduates to have include perseverance, mutual respect, kindness, empathy, honesty, responsibility, and self-awareness.

The above expectations align with the Leader in Me concepts in several ways, but to me, one of the most significant is “become great test takers” is not present in either set of ideas. We all know standardized tests are part of the K-12 landscape, but they are not how we define ourselves in Dublin City Schools.

Our mission is to develop the whole student, academically, socially, and civically. We are fostering a culture of enrichment and our priority is not on memorization or testing. Our focus is preparing our students for the worlds of higher education and the workforce. Our focus is developing young minds and positioning them to be successful not only in their future careers, but as human beings. These are the types of concepts that drive our work in Dublin City Schools. The Profile of a Graduate, along with programs such as Leader in Me, will continue to guide the District’s work for years to come.

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