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Need to solve a school challenge? Ask the students

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I continue to be impressed with how students at Waterville School are taking advantage of opportunities to be leaders to make their school function more effectively.

You may recall that last year the district implemented a program called "Leader in Me," based on Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. Students learn to take charge of their education, set goals and track progress. Now in its second year, this has had a positive impact on the learning environment and student performance. 

Superintendent Cathi Nelson sent a note this week talking about how student leaders solved a challenging issue at the school. "We presented a dilemma to our leadership students," Nelson wrote. "Morning announcements are interrupting a few high school classes that occupy elementary school classrooms - they only have 50 minutes for class and when the announcements interrupt the class, they are losing valuable learning time that they can't get back during the day. Can you come up with a solution?"

The students worked with teacher Justin Grillo and came up with a plan to record the morning announcements on an IPad and have it emailed to all elementary school teachers, who can play the announcements whenever works best for their class. 

This is just one more example of how education is being transformed in our region by schools finding creative ways to make learning relevant. The days of the "sage on the stage" imparting knowledge to students is being replaced with an environment where there is more project-based learning and creative approaches that allows kids to leverage their strengths. These are encouraging signs. 

Waterville will host a group of civic leaders from the region on Jan. 24, from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., to share the program that is helping that school engage kids more effectively.