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NHHS, Apple Valley win Lighthouse recognition

Two schools — North Henderson High and Apple Valley Middle — have been certified and named as Leader in Me Lighthouse Schools by FranklinCovey Education, the county school system and the Henderson County Education Foundation announced.

Not only are North Henderson High and Apple Valley Middle the district’s first high school and middle school to earn this designation, the two schools are among an elite cohort of Lighthouse schools in the state, nation, and even worldwide.
North Henderson High is the first Lighthouse-certified high school in North Carolina, the third in the southeast United States, and only the fifth high school in the world. A quarter of the 41 Lighthouse certified middle schools in the country are in North Carolina, with Apple Valley being the 10th in the state.
Developed by FranklinCovey in partnership with educators, Leader in Me is an evidence-based Pre-K-12 model, designed to build perseverance and leadership in students, create a high-trust culture of student empowerment, and help improve academic achievement. This model equips students, educators, and families with the leadership and life skills needed to thrive, adapt, and to contribute in a dynamic world. The Lighthouse School recognition is evidence that the schools have produced outstanding results in school and student outcomes, by implementing the Leader in Me process with fidelity and excellence.
Since 2017, the HCEF and Community Foundation of Henderson County have been co-leading the effort to add more LiM schools in HCPS, providing funding and support for schools implementing the whole-school transformational model. “The Henderson County Education Foundation is proud to provide continuing support and training to effectively sustain our current LiM schools while also funding the initial implementation costs for additional HCPS schools to join the LiM family,” said Peggy Marshall, Executive Director of HCEF. “With support from our community, we have the potential to touch the lives of every child in our district and build a thriving community of learners and leaders who are equipped for success in life.”
In total, there are 668 Lighthouse schools in the world, 34 of which are in North Carolina. “There’s a lot of great energy here in the Carolinas,” said David Ansbacher, LiM Director of Lighthouse & Quality Systems.
Of the 34 in the state, HCPS is now home to four Lighthouse schools; Sugarloaf Elementary and Dana Elementary earned Lighthouse status in 2016 and 2019, respectively, and are feeder schools to Apple Valley Middle and North Henderson High.
“That’s exciting when you’ve got the K-12 continuum,” Ansbacher said, adding that it’s the vision of FranklinCovey to see elementary students who learn the 7 Habits continue to build their understanding of “the paradigms of leadership” through Leader in Me as they move through middle and high school. “A student that starts in kindergarten with (LiM) and has it grow and change with them as they develop will ... grow into a high school graduate that has soft skills and the ability to lead,” Ansbacher said.
With Leader in Me, students learn to become self-aware, interdependent, take initiative, plan ahead, set and track goals, do their homework, prioritize their time, be considerate of others, communicate effectively, resolve conflicts, find creative solutions, value differences, live a balanced life, and contribute to society.
“Leader in Me has transformed already great students into exceptional leaders who care about their school community and the community in which they live,” said Dr. Katelyn Davis, Apple Valley Middle principal. “In three years, LiM has opened up leadership roles and opportunities within our school – from Knight Lights who give tours to new and incoming students, to our Student Lighthouse Team that creates school-wide celebrations, to our LEAD service projects that tackle issues and causes that are important to our students,” said Davis.
At North Henderson High, “Leader in Me empowers staff to place students on a pathway to personal maturity.
Students who would not lead in any other traditional high school environment are finding their voice and thriving at North Henderson,” said Principal Dr. John Shepard. “Lighthouse status provides assurance that the processes we have put into place at North Henderson empower educators to provide all students with leadership and character education. Our students are being equipped with the skills to successfully navigate careers, college, and life.”
“Middle school can be a difficult three years, and oftentimes students are figuring out who they are and who they want to be,” said Davis. “Leader in Me has helped us guide our students with the 7 Habits and remembering that no matter what, they are an Apple Valley Knight.”
“North Henderson is actively bridging the gap between high school and the 21st century,” said Shepard. “Students who graduate from North Henderson display the ability to work well with others, think critically, communicate effectively, develop trust between them and those around them, and display transparency in their actions and decisions.”
About Lighthouse Certification
Lighthouse Certification is a highly regarded standard set by FranklinCovey Education that is attainable by every LiM school and occurs as a result of implementing LiM with fidelity. As it is a significant benchmark, applying for this certification typically occurs three to five years after a school begins the LiM process.
FranklinCovey Education designed the Lighthouse Rubric to establish high standards for quality and school outcomes. Schools use the Lighthouse Rubric to measure outcomes in three areas: teaching leadership principles, creating a leadership culture, and aligning academic systems. Schools also measure their success as it relates to their unique school.
Since its official launch nearly a decade ago, more than 5,000 public, private, and charter schools across 50 countries have adopted the Leader in Me process, and 668 schools have achieved the prestigious Lighthouse Certification. It is earned by schools that demonstrate the following:
● The principal, school administration and staff engage in ongoing learning and develop as leaders, while championing leadership for the school.
● Leadership principles are effectively taught to all students through direct lessons, integrated approaches, and staff modeling. Students are able to think critically about and apply leadership principles.
● Families and the school partner together in learning about the 7 Habits and leadership principles through effective communication and mutual respect.
● The school community is able to see leadership in the physical environment, hear leadership through a common language, and feel leadership through a culture of caring, relationships, and affirmation.
● Leadership is shared with students through a variety of leadership roles and student voice leads to innovations within the school.
● Schoolwide, classroom, family and community leadership events provide authentic environments to celebrate leadership, build culture, and allow students to practice leadership skills.
● The school identifies and tracks progress toward Wildly Important Goals (WIGs) for the school, classroom, and staff.
● Students lead their own learning with the skills to assess their needs, set appropriate goals, and carry out action plans. They track progress toward goals in Leadership Notebooks and share these notebooks with adults in student-led conferences.
● Teacher planning and reflection, trusting relationships, and student-led learning combine to create environments for highly engaged learning.
North Henderson High and Apple Valley Middle schools will maintain their Lighthouse Certification for two years and continue to foster their growth and proficiency in exemplifying a leadership culture and principles. At the end of the two years the schools will recertify their Lighthouse Certification through a virtual self-assessment, describing and celebrating growth and accomplishments since their original Lighthouse designations.
Leader in Me training includes establishing vision for the school or district, goal setting, personal-accountability systems and is aligned with commonly held best in class educational research, content and best practices. At the core of the LiM model is the belief that every child possesses unique strengths and has the ability to be a leader. For more information on the model that has been implemented in thousands of schools in more than 55 countries,