Tuscany Heights and Vineyard Ranch named LiM Lighthouse Schools

Tuscany Heights and Vineyard Ranch Elementary School announced that they have been named as a Leader in Me Lighthouse School by Franklin Covey Co. This recognition comes because the schools have achieved outstanding results in school and student outcomes, by implementing The Leader in Me process with fidelity. It is also because of the extraordinary impact the schools are having on staff, students, parents, and the greater community. Vineyard Ranch and Tuscany Heights are the 167th and 168th schools respectively to earn Lighthouse status internationally.

“It seems cliché to say they all have–but we have truly seen our progress with all of our students,” said Tara Bailey, Principal at Tuscany Heights. “We have seen students that had multiple discipline referrals one year, to this year receiving none because of finding the perfect job role for them to lead others. We have a student that is nonverbal but can’t wait to update his Leadership Notebook daily and even served as a student presenter when the Covey Review Committee visited our campus. It goes to show that the message is evident in all of our classrooms and all students are encouraged to be part of the leadership in some way.”

“Earning the Lighthouse milestone has been challenging and extremely rewarding,” said Tamara Van Cleave, Principal at Vineyard Ranch. “We worked toward our goal steadily while learning throughout the whole process. We are excited about seeing more student success and sharing our journey with others in years to come. The faculty and staff, parents and students have set the pace and their own goals during the process. It has been inspiring to me as I have witnessed their dedication, perseverance, and genuine participation in what together we have built to be a structure for continued lifelong leadership development.”

Through this journey, the Tuscany Heights staff and students have increased their organizational health as a campus and grown closer as a working family for the benefit of the students and their growth. Together they pinpoint areas that need improvement for the campus and write “smartgoals.” Then, the grade levels, classrooms, and individual students wrote goals that would lead to improving the school-wide goals. This year, the campus wanted their attendance to increase and they recently celebrated a school wide 98% for the first semester.

As part of the process, Vineyard Ranch set campus goals that focused on student learning and success. Attendance, homework completion, implementation of leadership tools, and learning with technology have been past and present goals tracked through data which have increased since opening in 2012. In addition, students have developed a love for giving back to the community. For instance, one student shared an idea with her class of writing encouraging notes to patients in hospitals enclosed in a pocket within a homemade pillow. Two classes incorporated the idea one year and the next year it became a grade level project.

The Leader in Me is a whole-school transformation model—developed in partnership with educators—that empowers students with the leadership and life skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. It is based on secular principles and practices of personal, interpersonal, and organizational effectiveness.

The Lighthouse Milestone is a highly regarded standard set by Franklin Covey that is attainable by every The Leader in Me school. The attainment of the Lighthouse Milestone represents a significant benchmark, and it is evidence that a high standard has been met by a school. Applying for the Lighthouse Milestone typically occurs three to five years after a school begins The Leader in Me process.

Sean Covey, Education Practice Leader, Franklin Covey, said, “We are thrilled to recognize Tuscany Heights and Vineyard Ranch as Leader in Me Lighthouse Schools. The schools who achieve the Lighthouse Milestone are great examples of a strong leadership model, process, and of what it means to be a Leader in Me school. These schools have experienced transformational results by implementing the principles and practices related to The Leader in Me. We are so pleased to celebrate the success they are both experiencing.”

Becoming a Lighthouse School is a recognition that schools earn because they have produced outstanding results in school and student outcomes, by implementing The Leader in Me process with fidelity. More than 100 schools have achieved this prestigious milestone. The designation is given to schools that have demonstrated the following:

  • The school campus environment reinforces the leadership model by displaying leadership language that emphasizes individual worth and potential in hallways and classrooms.
  • Teachers integrate leadership language into school curriculum and instruction.
  • Staff collaborates and works together to effectively build a culture of leadership.
  • Students are provided with meaningful student leadership roles and responsibilities, such as mentor, public speaker, school tour guide, and greeter.
  • Parents are given opportunities to learn The Leader in Me model and the 7 Habits and are involved in activities that support the leadership model.
  • A system is in place for setting and tracking school-wide, classroom, academic, and personal goals.
  • Leadership events are held to allow students to practice their leadership skills (e.g. public speaking, sharing data, confident greetings, etc.) with community business partners, parents, and other educators.
  • The school leadership team meets regularly and oversees school-wide implementation of the leadership model with the help of students, staff, parents, and community members.
  • Measureable improvements in teacher engagement, parent satisfaction, student behavior, and academic alignment are shown by comparing baseline data with the tracking of ongoing data.

Leader in Me schools, which have implemented the process with fidelity, report increases in the following: student self-confidence, teamwork, initiative, responsibility, creativity, self-direction, leadership, problem-solving and communication for children of all ages, socio-economic levels, learning capacities and cultural backgrounds.

Currently, 38 NEISD schools are implementing the Leader in Me program at their campuses. The addition of Tuscany Heights and Vineyard Ranch brings the NEISD Lighthouse status total to ten elementary schools.


Vineyard Ranch teachers reflect on the journey at the Lighthouse announcement.

Tuscany's Junior Lighthouse Team Emma Avina, Avery Schammel, Marcus Bissen, and Addison James.

Posted on 01/14/2016