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Maricopa Elementary School

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Students at Maricopa elementary School tout the school's Lighthouse designation. Submitted photo

 

When Maricopa Elementary School became a “Leader in Me” Lighthouse school in February, it was an accomplishment students and staff had been working toward for four years.

Students, referred to as “scholars” by educators, practice the arts of prioritization, self-empowerment, leadership and accountability.

It was an achievement brought forth by a culture shift within the school. The Lighthouse designation recognizes outstanding progress within the Leader in Me framework.

“We look at scholars and believe everyone has genius,” said MES Principal Jennifer Robinson.

Students follow the format of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” the 1989 self-help book by Franklin Covey.

It helps students like fifth-grader Alyssa Norris prioritize daily tasks.

“It helps me by getting my work done early and turning it in so that I can be able to do things that I want to do like play games or help my teacher,” Norris said.

Students are assigned leadership roles as well, such as classroom greeters, line leaders and monitors. Scholars also focus on potential, motivation, change and education – paradigms that guide students through their educational pursuits.

Everyday in the classroom students like Jeremiah Crawford set “Wildly Important Goals” and compose the steps they believe will lead them to success.

“One of my goals is to get a 90 percent or higher on my math test,” Crawford said. The incoming sixth-grader said he accomplished it last school year.

One of the seven habits practiced by the school is synergize, where students are encouraged to solve problems by viewing a conflict through the eyes of another.

It’s fifth-grader Liliana Flores’ favorite habit to practice.

“I like when I see people working together and getting along because it makes the school happy,” Flores said.

The Leader in Me school, one of four in Arizona, has brought about results less measurable than test scores and less tangible than smiles, but important all the same.

One student said she felt empowered during public speaking events, even when her bravery may have faltered at first.

Robinson said that’s the ultimate goal she hopes scholars take with them as they grow in life – realizing anything they want to achieve is possible.

“That self-empowerment, and recognizing that they are the change and they can use their voice to make our world better,” Robinson added.

MES will retain its Lighthouse certification for two years, at which time the school can recertify through a virtual self-assessment.

TheLeaderInMe.org


This story appears in the July issue of InMaricopa.

Staff and scholars of Maricopa Elementary School celebrate their Lighthouse designation.

This year, Maricopa Elementary School became just the fourth “Leader in Me” Lighthouse School in the state. Wednesday, its students helped explain the significance to the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board.

 “To achieve this recognition, we needed to demonstrate the elements of and meet the Lighthouse criteria,” MES Principal Jennifer Robinson said.

Those criteria are core paradigms, leadership, academics, culture and measurable results. Core paradigms include potential, motivation, change and education.

The five-year process is a school transformation drawn from Franklin Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and other materials produced by the Covey organization.

The school’s mission statement combines all of the classes’ mission statements into a collection of important words. One class’s mission statement reads: “We will be proactive and responsible. We will do our best to work hard and pay attention. We will help each other achieve our goals. We will be leaders in all we do.”

Each student has a leadership binder to keep track of school, class and individual efforts. Some students target reading, others math or a behavior goal, and all can track their own progress.

“Motivation is important to me because not reacting and choosing kindness is important,” fifth grader Amanda Childers said. “If I track my progress, I will be successful and move onto sixth grade… I think education is important to me because it is the start to our own future.”

The program includes Wildly Important Goals, or WIGs. One of MES’s WIGs was to achieve Lighthouse status by May. The school reached that goal in February.

The school also achieved another WIG this year, having 80 percent of is scholars making expected growth in math and English language arts. It is close to meeting another WIG, having a daily attendance rate of 95 percent.

Progress is displayed prominently for the students to see how the school is doing.

Robinson said MES followed two Tempe schools (Kyrene) and one in Gilbert in receiving the designation. Since then, Luke Elementary in Glendale became the fifth Arizona school to achieve Lighthouse status.

“This year we were one of 25 schools in the world that [were] given this distinction,” she said. “There are 379 Lighthouse Schools in the world, and MES is one of them.”

Leader in Me recently updated to show 383 Lighthouse Schools worldwide and 3,307 schools in the process.

Second graders at Maricopa Elementary get set to perform during Leadership Day. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The scholars at Maricopa Elementary School had a chance to toot their own horns Friday as parents and community members gathered for Leadership Day.

Children spoke about the school’s “Leader in Me” program, an adaptation of “The 7 Habits of Happy Kids” by Stephen and Sean Covey. They also performed some rap and rock to celebrate what they’ve learned during the year and demonstrated physical exercises.

Principal Jennifer Robinson said the school is in the process of becoming a Lighthouse school. That milestone in the Leader in Me program indicates student achievement and is a five-year process focusing on leadership, culture and academics. There are currently 310 Lighthouse schools in the world but only two in Arizona.

“Soon there will be three,” Robinson said.

The program encourages placing students in leadership positions. Friday, the students oversaw welcoming and signing in visitors, explaining the clubs and activities displayed in the courtyard and leading tours of the facility.

The seven habits:

1) Be proactive
2) Begin with the end in mind
3) Put first things first
4) Think win-win
5) Seek first to understand and then to be understood
6) Synergize
7) Sharpen the saw

 

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Tasha Carpenter, Debra Wright and Torri Anderson with students from Maricopa Elementary School's Leadership After School Program. Submitted photo

Maricopa Elementary School has been collecting donations of supplies for the Against Abuse women/children shelter in Maricopa. The Leadership After School Program, run by third-grade teacher Jamie Shorey, made posters, decorated boxes and sorted the items donated. They will continue collecting after winter break to make the donation to Against Abuse in the spring. Against Abuse representative and MUSD Governing Board member Torri Anderson stopped by to see the collection so far.

Members of the MES staff being honored by Sigma Gamma Rho are Jennifer Robinson, Tasha Carpenter and Priscilla Behnke.

The ladies of the Kappa Eta Sigma Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. will host a Women’s Day Scholarship Brunch – “Dedicated to Service, Committed to Progress.” Seven women in Arizona, including four from Maricopa, will be honored for their service.

In addition, the chapter is raising money for book scholarships. The goal is to demonstrate that when we work together, we create a strong “community village” positioned to support our young people. All district staff is invited to attend.

This community service event will be May 7 at Scottsdale Marriott Suites Old Town, 7325 E. Third Ave., Scottsdale, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Kappa Eta Sigma Chapter is honoring the following Maricopa Elementary School (MES) staff members: Dr. Jennifer Robinson, MES principal, Tasha Carpenter, MES teacher on special assignment, and Priscilla Behnke, program director of the Maricopa Ak-Chin Community Alliance Against Substance Abuse. Her organization offers services to Maricopa Unified School District students at Saddleback, Santa Rosa and Butterfield Elementary Schools.

Also being honored from Maricopa is Pastor Yolanda Ewing of United International Fellowship Ministries.

Other Arizona women being honored include state Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor, Dr. Vanessa Power Anderson, Western Regional Director of Sigma Gamma Rho, and Charlene Tarver, Esq. of the Tarver Law Group.

If you are interested in attending the event, contact Linette Y. Caroselli at scottsdalesgrho@gmail.com.

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. has more than 500 chapters in the United States, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Germany, Korea and the Virgin Islands. Seven educators founded Sigma Gamma Rho on November 12, 1922, at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Maricopa Unified School District released the following statement regarding a lockdown that occurred Sept. 24 at Maricopa Elementary School (a day after a lockdown at the high school) when a student reported seeing a stranger on campus:

“The Maricopa Unified School District in cooperation with the Maricopa Police Department has determined that a student’s claim of an unauthorized person on campus on Thursday, Sept. 24, was a false report.  The incident resulted in a school-wide lockdown and then a systematic search of the entire campus by the Maricopa Police Department.  For one hour, over 750 students and affected staff were confined to locked classrooms without any educational instruction taking place. The student is being held accountable for the action, and any subsequent disciplinary action is being handled in accordance with the District’s Student Handbook and Board Policy.  Student and staff safety are a high priority with the District.  False reporting of a potential threat will not be tolerated and anyone disrupting a school setting based on a false report will be held accountable for their actions.  The District would like to once again thank the Maricopa Police Department for their support and their assistance in making our campuses safe, educational environments for students and staff.”

Maricopa Elementary School
Maricopa Elementary School

State Rep. Vince Leach (far right) tours Maricopa Wells Middle School with Master Teacher Treva Jenkins and students Steel Lewis and Cassidy Zimmerman. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Two Maricopa schools gave state Rep. Vince Leach a tour of their campuses Wednesday for Take Your Legislator to School Day.

“I’m learning a lot,” Leach said throughout the day.


Maricopa Elementary and Maricopa Wells Middle School hosted the District 11 Republican as part of an initiative to “expose Arizona legislators to highly effective teachers working within an authentic classroom experience.”

Leach shadowed Angelia Ebner, the vice president of the Maricopa Education Association and a nationally board certified teacher, at MES. Ebner also accompanied him as he toured MWMS with Treva Jenkins, an Arizona Master Teacher and K-12 Center Mentor Teacher, and students Steel Lewis and Cassidy Zimmerman.

He looked in on a history class with Keith Gibson and, as a history major, swapped notes with the 30-year teaching veteran. Leach also looked at the computer lab and other tech rooms, a Spanish class, a Special Education class and more.

He spoke with teachers about everything from furniture to computer servers. Leach particularly noted the extra effort needed to gain certification in Arizona even for those veteran teachers long certified in other states with tougher certification processes. He said it was contributing to the teacher shortage.

“We, and I mean we the Legislature, need to find a way not to put up roadblocks,” he said.

Eighth graders Cassidy and Steel fielded questions from the politician and others, ready to explain classrooms and programs. When asked by Ebner what she tells parents who ask her why their children should attend MWMS, Cassidy said there is an outdated misconception that it is a bad school. “They should definitely come here and find out,” she said.

Take Your Legislator to School Day is a partnership among the Arizona Educational Foundation, the Arizona K-12 Center, the Arizona Education Association and the Rodel Foundation.

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Members of the MES staff being honored by Sigma Gamma Rho are Jennifer Robinson, Tasha Carpenter and Priscilla Behnke.

The ladies of the Kappa Eta Sigma Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. will host a Women’s Day Scholarship Brunch – “Dedicated to Service, Committed to Progress.” Seven women in Arizona, including four from Maricopa, will be honored for their service.

In addition, the chapter is raising money for book scholarships. The goal is to demonstrate that when we work together, we create a strong “community village” positioned to support our young people. All district staff is invited to attend.

This community service event will be May 7 at Scottsdale Marriott Suites Old Town, 7325 E. Third Ave., Scottsdale, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Kappa Eta Sigma Chapter is honoring the following Maricopa Elementary School (MES) staff members: Dr. Jennifer Robinson, MES principal, Tasha Carpenter, MES teacher on special assignment, and Priscilla Behnke, program director of the Maricopa Ak-Chin Community Alliance Against Substance Abuse. Her organization offers services to Maricopa Unified School District students at Saddleback, Santa Rosa and Butterfield Elementary Schools.

Also being honored from Maricopa is Pastor Yolanda Ewing of United International Fellowship Ministries.

Other Arizona women being honored include state Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor, Dr. Vanessa Power Anderson, Western Regional Director of Sigma Gamma Rho, and Charlene Tarver, Esq. of the Tarver Law Group.

If you are interested in attending the event, contact Linette Y. Caroselli at scottsdalesgrho@gmail.com.

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. has more than 500 chapters in the United States, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Germany, Korea and the Virgin Islands. Seven educators founded Sigma Gamma Rho on November 12, 1922, at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana.