Grant Supports Student Leadership Program

El Monte City School District’s popular Leader In Me program will receive a boost in 2020-21 thanks to a donation from the Panda Cares Foundation that will fund the costs of student materials and expanded teacher coaching.

Leader in Me guides K-12 students toward the life skills they will need to become innovators in a challenging world. All 14 El Monte City schools participate in the program, which is based on principles developed by author Stephen R. Covey in his best-selling book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

El Monte City’s goal is to expand the number of Leader in Me Lighthouse campuses in the District. Three El Monte City schools – LeGore, Cherrylee and Shirpser schools – have been designated as Lighthouse campuses, a recognition granted to only 300 schools across the country that produce outstanding school and student outcomes by implementing the Leader in Me process with fidelity and excellence.

“We are delighted with the support from the Panda Cares Foundation, which will keep our programs strong and moving forward at a time when students need additional social emotional guidance,” Superintendent Dr. Maribel Garcia said. “Since adopting Leader in Me in 2016, we have made great strides districtwide in student achievement, participation and leadership.”

The grant will fund Leader in Me student materials, including student workbooks and teacher guides, and provides a coach whose focus will be tailored to each school’s specific needs. Leader in Me coaches work with teachers and classified staff who compose the school’s Lighthouse team, which then recommends activities centered on school culture, academics and leadership.

These activities are developed further by Student Action Teams, who engage with classmates, creating projects and establishing protocols that mirror the paradigms, habits and practices championed in Covey’s book. The teams coordinate Leadership Days, inviting parents and community members to watch student performances, observe exhibits and tour campuses.

During a “We Are the Champions” Leadership Day assembly at LeGore School in 2019, student leaders profiled athletes who inspired them, including Jackie Robinson, Serena Williams and the U.S. “Miracle on Ice” hockey team.