Grant Elementary School recertifies as Lighthouse School
by Margaret Hurlbert
June 20, 2022

MUSCATINE, Iowa–When young children go off to school, they learn not only how to read, write, and do math, but also how to grow their social and emotional skills. For the past five years, Grant Elementary School in Muscatine has put a special focus on all these skills using the Leader in Me program. At the end of this school year, Grant received the designation of Lighthouse School for the third time in a row, recognizing their success in focusing on all of students’ various needs and their commitment to continued improvement in the future.

Since 2011, teachers at Grant have worked on incorporating the Habits of Highly Effective People into their own lives and also teaching students the Habits of Highly Effective Kids by integrating them into their curricula. These habits focus on the kinds of attitudes and practices kids and adults need to stay on track with their work, get along with others, and take care of themselves. Faculty and staff have also worked to provide leadership opportunities for students, such as giving kids age appropriate jobs, like taking out the recycling and raising the school’s flag each morning. “It gives a sense of community because it’s not just staff and teachers who do things to keep the school running efficiently; it’s the students too,” shared Grant Elementary School Principal Leslie Bennett.

To retain the status of Lighthouse School, participating schools must regularly undergo evaluations to ensure they still meet the honor’s standards. Every other year or so, schools come up for either an online or in person review. Bennett outlined that to recertify as a Lighthouse School, Grant focused on encouraging goal setting for academic classes, providing student leadership opportunities, encouraging shared leadership for staff, and providing a physical environment that met students’ needs. School faculty and administrators tracked these various action plans and also met with a Leader in Me Coach in person to provide school tours and opportunities to speak with students, parents, and staff.

Faculty and administrators also showed their commitment to future growth by identifying areas they hoped to improve in this upcoming school year. Bennett detailed that for the 2022-2023 school year, students at Grant will start the process of transitioning their leadership notebooks, which they use to show parents and guardians the academic goals they set and how they accomplished them, to a digital format. They will also continue to find more leadership opportunities for students so they can take pride in the work they do and their school.

Bennett felt honored that Grant Elementary again received the designation of Lighthouse School: “We’re really very excited. We’re very proud. It’s been an interesting couple of years with COVID changes, staff changes, and administration changes, and we’re proud that through these changes we could keep that certification.”

Additionally, Bennett also saw the recertification as a reminder for everyone at Grant to stay focused on continuous growth. “It was a vote of confidence,” she said. “As long as we’re showing growth, that’s the main thing.”

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