COLUMBIA — Stephen M. R. Covey was serenaded by Shepard Boulevard Elementary students when he made a visit to the school on Friday afternoon.
Kindergarten, first- and second-graders sang "The Leader In Me." The song was written by Connie Morrow, the school's music teacher, and incorporates the leadership skills the students have been learning this year. The tune to "Leader In Me" was "Oh, What A Night," by the Four Seasons.
Starting this school year, Shepard Elementary has been implementing the Leader In Me program into its core curriculum. The program focuses on teaching students leadership skills necessary to succeed in life.
"It's so important to teach students how to be leaders," Principal JoNetta Weaver said.
The program was inspired by Covey's father, Stephen R. Covey, and his book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People."
Leadership is important to this school. Each student has a data notebook where they set personal goals for themselves.
"It is a good way to measure themselves," Weaver said. "They can take ownership in their learning."
Shepard is the first school in Missouri to use the Leader In Me program. But by next school year, Stanton Elementary School in St. Louis, Meadow Heights Elementary School in Patton and Ridgeview Elementary in Liberty will all be implementing the program into their curriculum, according to MU College of Education clinical assistant professor Paul Pitchford.
Pitchford works with the Shepard faculty members with the Leader In Me program.
Shepard called Covey's visit a "leadership visit," and Weaver said the school plans tohost more of them.
"Leadership visits allow students to have a real life example of what we have been teaching," Weaver said.
During Covey's visit, three fifth-graders were allowed to ask three questions the students had come up with. Each classroom had discussions about what they wanted to ask and generated these questions.
Covey is the author of "The Speed of Truth," and is a speaker on trust and leadership, among other topics, to groups around the world, according to CoveyLink.com.
Covey was visiting Columbia for the Missouri Training Institute event at MU Business school. Seven of Shepard Boulevard Elementary staff attended the training.