Marion Intermediate School begins ‘Leader in Me’ Program upcoming school year

MARION, SC (WBTW) – One school in Marion County will begin a new program this upcoming school year to improve test scores and behavior.

The ‘Leader in Me’ is nationwide program that encourages every child to be a leader. The Marion Intermediate School is the pilot school in Marion County. The goal is to expand to more schools depending on the schools success.

Principle Melanie Dozier visited a school Hendersonville, North Carolina where the program has developed better grades and fewer disciplinary actions with students. She hopes that success carries into Marion Intermediate.

”I’m hoping that it will be a culture of when you walk in and you just go ‘Wow, this is the kind of school I want my student to go to,” said Dozier.

Using the ‘Leader in Me’ book as a guide the school staff will create more leadership opportunities for students within the libraries, helping younger students, greeting visitors at the door and leading all assemblies.

Dozier hopes more leaders in the school will promote better behavior and test scores.

“As with any school test scores are never where you want them to be,” said Dozier. “Our test scores are relatively low so what we want to do is put these students in the role of being a leader.”

School staff does not have the most recent SC Ready scores but according to SC Department of Education 2016 SC Ready test scores.

Third Grade:

  • English: The average (scale score) for the total group of students 52%
  • Math: The average (scale score) for the total group of students 64.6%

Fourth Grade:

  • English: The average (scale score) for the total group of students 62.9%
  • Math: The average (scale score) for the total group of students 76.8%

Fifth Grade:

  • English: The average (scale score) for the total group of students 55.9%
  • Math: The average (scale score) for the total group of students 62.8%

“Some of our students struggle and with this leadership model coming into play. This should give them a voice. We’ll find that inner voice. Whether that’s through music, art, writing stories, or coaching other students. They have to find that voice that gives them the power to say ‘Hey, I’m somebody’,” said Dozier.

Over the next 3- 5 years, faculty will practice the exercises in the book and will teach students how to become leaders in and out of the classroom.

“Nothing happens overnight. This is a process ingrained in the students and staff,” said Dozier.

Faculty and staff have onsite training first before the school year begins. Dozier said the Marion Healthcare Foundation partially funded $75,000 over the next 5 years.