ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - A whole school transformation process is coming to Pineville Elementary, paving the way for student leaders.
The school will be the first one in Central Louisiana to adopt the Franklin Covey 'Leader in Me' program.
"Our school already has a strong culture, but we want to take it further," said Pineville Elementary Principal Dr. Erin Stokes.
With 94 percent of her students in poverty at the school, Dr. Stokes is turning to the 'Leader in Me' program to keep them on the road to success.
"Our students come from areas of poverty, and this is their opportunity to learn some of the skills they need in order to advocate for themselves in the future," Dr. Stokes said.
The Franklin Covey leadership program is based on the Stephen Covey book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" and it is already in 48 schools throughout six parishes. Pineville is the first school to adopt it in Central Louisiana.
Covey Education Consultant Jason Quinlan helped announce the new program at Rotary on Tuesday.
He said the program teaches 21st century leadership and life skills, giving each student a leadership role schoolwide and in the classroom.
"A lot of our student leadership roles are everything from line leader, compliment leader, energy saver leader, attendance leader, you name it,"Quinlan said.
The program isn't cheap at a rate of about $15,000 a year, but the United Way is helping Pineville foot the bill.
"It's just general, good community citizenship building," said United Way of Central Louisiana President David Britt.
Britt said it's a cause their education committee is happy to invest in.
"It teaches at the age that kids can absorb it, all those things that companies often find lacking in their prospective employees," Britt said.
Pineville teachers and administration will start training over the summer to transform the way the school operates.
"Because, our feelings are if we can't really move the staff then we can't really get it to trickle down to the students," Quinlan said.
Dr. Stokes hopes that over the next five years the program helps her students blossom.
"I want every student to see the vision of what they could be and to know that there are people who believe in them, and that there is a pathway to get there," Dr. Stokes said.
The United Way hopes more schools will look into the program. They also hope more organizations step up to sponsor.