Shirpser School Earns Lighthouse Recertification
After becoming the first El Monte City School District school to gain Lighthouse Status for their Leader In Me program in 2019, Shirpser School is now the first EMCSD school to earn Lighthouse recertification.
The Leader In Me (LIM) program is an evidence-based, comprehensive improvement model that was developed by educators to empower students with leadership and life skills by practicing the 7 Habits of Happy Kids. These habits encourage proactivity, goal-oriented mindsets, prioritization, positive thinking, peer engagement, and collaboration.
In a letter from the LIM organization, Shirpser was recognized for three main concepts that the school has prioritized over the last two years: Teach Leadership Principles, Create a Leadership Culture, and Align Academic Systems. “The Lighthouse recertification is a highly regarded standard,” said David Ansbacher, Director of Lighthouse and Quality Initiatives for Leader In Me in the congratulatory letter. “Lighthouse Schools are extraordinary examples for other schools to follow. As such, they should be places anyone the world over could visit to learn about and be inspired by the strength of the leadership model.”
Each concept represents practices that Shirpser implemented over the last two years. These include student, staff, and parent participation in leadership workshops, Family Fun Nights, Student-Led Conferences and announcements, daily practice of the 7 Habits, and student academic accountability.
“I’m really proud of our students and team for coming together and prioritizing the strategies that make us the Lighthouse School we deserve to be,” said Karol Valdez, 4th Grade Teacher at Shirpser. “The students deserve so much credit because they were still actively involved every day and constantly engaged in our LIM program while living through a pandemic.”
Shirpser Principal, Veronica Ortiz, was also quick to credit her students and staff for not letting the pandemic affect the program. “Continuing the implementation of Leader In Me in a Distant Learning environment was key, and the school community should be really proud for adjusting to an online practice, and earning recertification despite the challenges.”
When asked what she thought made the transition to virtual practice seamless, Principal Ortiz pointed to consistency. “We’ve been a LIM school for about 5 years, so for some of our 5th and 6th graders, it’s been indoctrinated into them since Kindergarten. The 7-habits are part of their everyday vocabulary and routines, it’s part of who they are.”
With students back on campus, Principal Ortiz is excited to be able to continue the program the way it was intended. The school is currently in the midst of their student leader elections while the Leader In Me team is planning for the next level of parent participation. “My goal is to help our parents stay involved now that we are back in person,” said Principal Ortiz. “Our Parent Lighthouse Team did a wonderful job as ambassadors for our students during Distance Learning and we would love to keep training them so they can effectively implement the program at home.”
Shirpser is one of four Lighthouse schools in the District, with Cherrylee, Gidley, and Wright also holding the distinction.