New youth program coming to local school

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

Cotton Indian Elementary School in Stockbridge is where local business leaders plan to launch a program aimed at increasing self-confidence and developing 21st-century skills in young people.

The Henry Council for Quality Growth is sponsoring “The Leader in Me,” based on the bestselling Stephen Covey book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” According to a recent report, the program help increase academic achievement and reduce behavioral issues while raising engagement among teachers and parents.

According to council chair Jack Bowdoin, the goal of the program is “a whole-school transformation model that improves performance of all programs” at the school.

The council’s Education and Quality of Life committees worked with “The Leader in Me” representatives as well as school board members and school administrative staff to get the program ready for implementation. Cotton Indian Elementary principal Lisa Travis is thrilled that her school and its more than 700 students will be the first to participate, beginning in January of 2016.

“It is an honor and privilege to begin this journey of becoming a Leader In Me school,” she said. “I believe that as a community, we all share the same belief; the educational system is about developing each child’s individual abilities and building their capacity to shape the future. As the leader of the Cotton Indian Elementary community, our motto and my top priority is ‘Inspiring Greatness, One Child at a Time.’”

The $55-per-student cost will be funded by the Henry Council for Quality Growth through individual and corporate donors.

According to council executive director Steve Cash, the program is geared specifically for elementary school children and presented in a format that appeals to that age group.

“This strategy is embedded into the very fiber of the school,” said Cash. “This is not another layer of programs added to an already overburdened school day. This process is integrated into the core values of young elementary school students.”

Cash and his organization see “The Leader in Me” as a program that lines up directly with the council’s mission of enhancing education, quality of life and economic growth in Henry County - and it could help produce future community leaders who continue that mission.