ABILENE – Wednesday afternoon after a day of teaching and working on campus, the Bowie Elementary School staff joined together for a quick meeting before they were to head home for the day.

But principal Tina Jones had other plans. She announced to her assembled staff that they were going to have a little party after learning that the school had earned the distinctive designation as a “Leader in Me Lighthouse School.”

That designation is only earned by the work the school has done in producing outstanding results and student outcomes and excellence in implementing the Leader in Me process. The designation is also earned because of the impact the school has on staff, students, parents and the greater school community.

“Bowie is extremely proud and honored to be selected as a ‘Leader in Me Lighthouse School,’ ” principal Tina Jones said. “This certification would not have been possible without the dedicated work of our students, staff, parents and community. Through the 7 Habits of Leader in Me, we work to instill the truth that leadership is in all of us, and we create a school culture that values the contributions of every child and every teacher.

“We empower students to take charge of their own learning by setting goals and working to achieve them,” she said. “The mission of our campus is to provide Bowie students with the skills and self-confidence needed for school and beyond.”

More than 300 schools around the world have earned the Lighthouse certification with the Abilene ISD now home to six Lighthouse School campuses: Austin, Bonham, Bowie, Jackson, Taylor and Thomas elementary schools.

To earn the designation, campuses must meet the following criteria:

The principal, school administration and staff engage in ongoing learning and develop as leaders, while championing leadership for the school.

• Leadership principles are effectively taught to all students through direct lessons, integrated approaches, and staff modeling. Students are able to think critically about and apply leadership principles.

• Families and the school partner together in learning about the 7 Habits and leadership principles through effective communication and mutual respect.

• The school community is able to see leadership in the physical environment, hear leadership through the common language of the 7 Habits, and feel leadership through a culture of caring, relationships, and affirmation.

• Leadership is shared with students through a variety of leadership roles and student voice leads to innovations within the school.

• School-wide, classroom, family and community leadership events provide authentic environments to celebrate leadership, build culture, and allow students to practice leadership skills.

• Students lead their own learning with the skills to assess their needs, set appropriate goals, and carry out action plans. They track progress toward goals in Leadership Notebooks and share these notebooks with adults in student-led conferences.

• Teacher planning and reflection, trusting relationships, and student-led learning combine to create environments for highly engaged learning.

Leader in Me schools maintain their Lighthouse Certification for two years and continue to foster their growth in exemplifying a leadership culture. At the end of the two years, schools may recertify to maintain their Lighthouse Certification.