At New Horizon, students learn about social responsibility and practice leadership in the classroom, in the school, and in the larger community. As part of its vision to create future American Muslim leaders, New Horizon incorporates The Leader in Me across all grade levels. Based on the well-known work by Dr. Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the program promotes leadership, respect, communication and time management skills, all qualities that align with the 21st Century learning skills. The Leader in Me teaches students the lifelong skills of self-confidence, self-reliance, and self-discipline and guides them on becoming successful leaders while creating a culture of student empowerment based on the idea that every child is a leader.
At the root of the leadership program are The 7 Habits. The concepts hold universal, timeless principles of personal and interpersonal effectiveness, such as vision, goal setting, listening and speaking, responsibility, teamwork, collaboration and renewal. Presented in kid-friendly language, The Leader in Me creates a common language for teachers, students, and parents.
Habit 1: Be Proactive®
I am a responsible person. I take initiative. I choose my actions, attitudes, and moods. I do not blame others for my wrong actions. I do the right thing without being asked, even when no one is looking.
Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind®
I plan ahead and set goals. I do things that have meaning and make a difference. I am an important part of my classroom and contribute to my school’s mission and vision. I look for ways to be a good citizen.
Habit 3: Put First Things First®
I spend my time on things that are most important. This means I say no to things I know I should not do. I set priorities, make a schedule, and follow my plan. I am disciplined and organized.
Habit 4: Think Win-Win®
I balance courage for getting what I want with consideration for what others want. When conflicts arise, I look for a win-win solution.
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood®
I listen to other people’s ideas and feelings. I try to see things from their viewpoint (paradigm). I listen to others without interrupting. I listen with my ears, my eyes, and my heart. I am confident in voicing my ideas.
Habit 6: Synergize®
I value other people’s strengths and learn from them. I get along well with others, even people who are different than me. I work well in groups. I seek out other people’s ideas because I know that by teaming with others, we can create better solutions than what any one of us could alone. I look for Third alternatives.
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw®
Sharpen the Saw means to have balance in your life. Just like a car needs four tires to operate smoothly, a body has four parts: body, brain, heart, and soul. All four parts are needed to operate smoothly. I eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep (body). I learn in lots of ways and lots of places, not just at school (brain). I spend time with family and friends (heart). I take time to find meaningful ways to help people (soul). I balance all four parts of myself.
Student Leadership on campus is comprised of a Student Leadership Club (SLC) made up of a Board of Sixth Grade students, as well as representatives from Third through Fifth grade levels. The SLC leaders meet regularly during the school year to organize activities that build the school community and raise funds to benefit tuition assistance. In addition, the members organize and conduct the weekly Monday assembly, run the Snack Shop and work collaboratively on service projects. In individual classrooms, the leadership spirit is carried out through students having classroom leadership roles. An example of such a role is of “student greeters” who welcome visitors and serve as ambassadors to the class happenings.
New Horizon students bring these leadership principles to life through everyday opportunities such as prayer and peer mentoring. During the daily afternoon prayer, older students lead the younger ones in Salat. The older peers also provide mentoring through buddy reading along with guidance on positive peer interactions. By putting into practice the core principles of the 7 Habits, students at New Horizon practice leadership in all aspects of learning, understanding that leadership isn’t limited to a separate curriculum, but it’s ubiquitous – everywhere and all the time.