Positive Discipline

New Horizon Irvine has adopted the Positive Discipline Model by Dr. Jane Nelsen to help foster and develop mutually respectful relationships between adults and students. Dr. Nelsen developed this model, through research and experience, that teaches young people how to become responsible, respectful, and resourceful members of their communities. “Effective discipline” as defined by Dr. Nelsen:

  • Helps children feel a sense of connection. (Belonging and significance)
  • Is mutually respectful and encouraging. (Kind and firm at the same time.)
  • Is effective long-term. (Considers what the child is thinking, feeling, learning, and deciding about himself and his world – and what to do in the future to survive or to thrive.)
  • Teaches important social and life skills. (Respect, concern for others, problem solving, and cooperation as well as the skills to contribute to the home, school or larger community.)
  • Invites children to discover how capable they are. (Encourages the constructive use of personal power and autonomy.)

Upon the adoption of this model, faculty and staff went through extensive training with Dr. Nelsen herself.  Teachers model firmness by respecting themselves and the needs of the situation, while modeling kindness by respecting the needs of the students. Positive Discipline emphasizes that effective discipline allows teachers to recognize the reasons why students do what they do rather than merely attempting to change the behavior. With this system, teachers are empowered to dig deeper and help students get to the deeper motivations driving behavior.  In addition, Positive Discipline aligns with many Islamic concepts including the concept of shura (consultation) through class meetings to help resolve situations by garnering the collective wisdom of the students. Also, teachers facilitate a community environment where students practice effective communication skills, problem solving skills, developing solutions versus punishments, and exchanging words of encouragement between peers. As a result, our students feel a sense of ownership and agency in their school process. Through this approach, we have observed that students built stronger ties to one another, have developed their voices for justice, and feel they have a say in their school environment. 

To learn more about Positive Discipline, please visit their website:

The Leader in Me – Lighthouse School Certification

Aligned with New Horizon’s mission of preparing students with the confidence to lead, New Horizon adopted The Leader in Me program and is proud to announce that we are one of only 300 schools in the world which has received a Lighthouse School certification. The certification is evidence that New Horizon has produced outstanding results in school and student outcomes, by implementing The Leader in Me process with excellence. 

Through The Leader in Me, students learn about social responsibility and practice leadership in the classroom, in the school, and in the larger community to set the foundations for them to become American Muslim leaders in the future.  Based on the well-known work by Dr. Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, The Leader in Me program promotes respect, communication, and time management skills – all qualities necessary to become successful in the 21st Century.  

The 7 Habits are taught to students which promote the universal principles of personal and interpersonal effectiveness, such as vision, goal setting, listening and speaking, responsibility, teamwork, collaboration and renewal. The following 7 Habits are presented in kid-friendly language, The Leader in Me creates a common language for teachers, students, and parents.

Habit 1: Be Proactive®

Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind®

Habit 3: Put First Things First®

Habit 4: Think Win-Win®

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood®

Habit 6: Synergize®

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw®

New Horizon students bring these leadership principles to life through everyday opportunities in their classrooms or within the school community. The Leader in Me teaches students the lifelong skills of self-confidence, self-reliance, and self-discipline while building a culture of student empowerment based on the idea that ‘every child is a leader’.  Whether through assigned classroom responsibilities or through schoolwide activities such as prayer, students at New Horizon practice leadership throughout their day – understanding that leadership opportunities are not limited, but rather ubiquitous – and that these skills can be practiced everywhere and all the time.

For more information about The Leader in Me program, please visit: