Brookside Elementary celebrating pair of honors

A lighthouse stands inside a hallway at Brookside Elementary School in Big Rapids, in recognition of the school’s recent designation by the FranklinCovey education training firm. (Courtesy photo)

BIG RAPIDS — Officials at Brookside Elementary School are celebrating a pair of designations awarded this month.

Brookside was recognized as a “Lighthouse School” for the 2018-19 school year for its work in implementing the “Leader in Me” program, which is based around author Stephen R. Covey’s book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

The Big Rapids school also was given the 2018-19 School Wellness Gold Award by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for its work in promoting and enhancing the fitness of students.

Brookside principal Kara Schafer said the school was particularly pleased to receive the “Lighthouse” nod, a certification from the education and training services firm FranklinCovey, after several years as a “Leader in Me” school. As a “Leader in Me” school, Schafer said, Brookside regularly promotes principles of Covey’s book, such as “being proactive,” “beginning with the end in mind,” and “thinking win-win.”

Only 25 schools in Michigan, out of 165 that are considered “Leader in Me” schools, received “Lighthouse” status this year. This is the first year Brookside has received the designation.

“As I became principal at Brookside, my goal was to enhance student learning with these critical skills and create a leadership environment. Instilling these principles brings a new mindset to our school culture and future leaders. Our staff has embraced this process from the beginning and has been committed to reach ‘Leader in Me Lighthouse’ status by going above and beyond to empower students to find their voices,” Schafer said via email.

To celebrate, Schafer put up a lighthouse in the school hallway and made a makeshift banner, reading “We did it!,” to hang outside of the school. A banner from the FranklinCovey organization is expected to come to the school soon.

The Gold Award from DHHS is considered similarly exclusive, with only 14 schools in Michigan achieving the status this year. After receiving a bronze award in 2016-17 and a silver in 2017-18, Brookside this year implemented a universal breakfast program for students — which provides a free breakfast to all students, regardless of income level.

Schafer said she was pleased with the award.

“Our Brookside school wellness team continues to implement new opportunities and initiatives in all areas of wellness,” she said. “School wellness encompasses many components such as physical activities and fitness, health and nutrition, school safety, environmental policies and procedures as well as staff and student overall happiness. This team includes our school counselor, school nurse, food service director and staff. We are incredibly pleased to have a partnership with Spectrum Health and our community mentors that support this program.”

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Posted by Tim Rath

Tim is the Pioneer's associate editor. He also coordinates the Family & Friends, Religion and Veterans pages. He can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8386 or by e-mail at trath@pioneergroup.com.

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