$2.1 million raised to put character education program into Bibb schools

Bibb district to build future leaders through new program

$2.1 million has been raised to put the Leader in Me character education program into every Bibb County elementary and middle school.
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$2.1 million has been raised to put the Leader in Me character education program into every Bibb County elementary and middle school.

The Bibb County school system wants to bring out the leader in every student, and now it has the resources to transform that vision into action. With $2.1 million raised, the district will put the Leader in Me character education program in all its elementary and middle schools.

An assembly at Vineville Academy on Thursday morning celebrated meeting the fundraising goal for the project. The event included music and dance numbers by Vineville students and a performance by the Central High School drum line.

Leader in Me was started in Carter and Burdell-Hunt elementary schools in 2015-16 and added to Hartley and Bernd elementary schools last year. Now, it will be implemented in the remaining schools over the next four years, Superintendent Curtis Jones said.

In March, OneMacon’s Business Education Partnership and the school district launched the fundraising campaign. Ten percent of the $2.1 million came from the FranklinCovey company, and the rest was community donations, according to the school district.

“Believing and doing require a lot of effort, and you all have made a lot of investment in this community,” Blake Sullivan, Business Education Partnership co-chairman, told the audience. “We’re going to have some of the best schools in Georgia.”

The Leader in Me was developed by Sean Covey and the FranklinCovey company in 2009. It’s based on “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, father of Sean Covey, and focuses on changing the culture and climate of schools. The program is now in 3,500 schools in 55 countries, Covey said.

“It’s a systemic approach to building 21st century skills in children and in staff members and in the community,” Covey said. “There’s so much instability in the world today. You need a framework of your own and a set of core principals to found yourself on and skills, like taking responsibility, goal-setting, resolving conflict. This is basic blocking and tackling of being an effective and happy person today.”

The program changes the way students think, and that will spread to parents and the community, Jones said. Bibb County will serve as a leadership model for other communities across the country, Covey said.

“It allows our students to really learn how to display strength of character,” Jones said. “Those words are easy, but how do you do it? Students are asking, ‘What do I do?’ Now we say, ‘You can practice the seven habits and that will help you demonstrate strength of character.’ ”

Andrea Honaker: 478-744-4382, @TelegraphAndrea