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The Leader in Me

This is a research-based and proven initiative that promotes cultural change. The focus of the model is based on “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. Every day school practices are examined and aligned to ensure that children practice and employ strategies in all aspects of their school day. These skills are witnessed when students show compassion for each other, are willing to take turns, and share their belongings. Following the rules and self- discipline is no longer a choice, but rather a paradigm shift in how they go about doing business – actively doing whatever it takes to improve a situation for all involved.


This program is being piloted in the Downey School with the expectation that it will be extended to other schools – and ultimately district wide. All Downey employees were required to “buy into” the program and received extensive training which was initially funded by a grant of $50,000 from The Leader in Me Foundation. The Harrisburg Public Schools Foundation was asked to match the grant with $5,000 which was done. To date the results are stunning and are measured by enhanced community and school-wide citizenship, elevated student achievement, decreased discipline referrals, increased teacher engagement satisfaction and improved patent engagement and satisfaction.


In April 2013, the Downey School became part of The Leader In Me, a whole-school transformation model that acts like the operating system of a computer — it improves performance of all other programs. Based on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®, The Leader in Me produces transformational results such as higher academic achievement, fewer discipline problems, and increased engagement among teachers and parents. Better yet, The Leader in Me equips students with the self-confidence and skills they need to thrive in the 21st century economy.


The Harrisburg Public Schools Foundation supports teacher participation in this groundbreaking program. For more information on The Leader In Me, visit

This is one of the programs funded through EITC.

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