McNeill Students Use The Leader in Me Concepts to Build Website, Advance to State Competition

Published Tuesday, February 9, 2016 2:30 pm

Bowling Green, Ky. (Feb. 9, 2015) – As part of the Student Technology Leadership Program (STLP) at W.R. McNeill Elementary School , four students are using project-based learning principles to create a website ( that empowers student achievement using key components of  The Leader in Me program.

In 2010, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce began collaborating with investors and the city and county school districts to implement TLIM, ultimately raising $1.4 million to put the program in every school in Warren County. TLIM teaches 21st century leadership skills based on Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” preparing the future workforce by teaching students about leadership, accountability and teamwork.

For their STLP project, students Will Hackbarth, Samuel Lock, Matthew Green and Mason Ritter created a website that defines TLIM’s eight habits and how students can use those habits both inside and outside the classroom.  

The students implemented the following technology in their project:

  • Weebly, a website builder, to initially create the website
  • Storyboard That, an online storyboard creator, to tell a story of an example of using the habits
  • Voki to create animated cartoon characters that tell a story about each of the habits
  • Tagxedo to create a word cloud of words related to TLIM
  • Sploder to create games relating to the habits

The STLP program exists to provide a framework for highlighting the advanced use of technology for learning in Kentucky classrooms. Through this program students develop digital products to demonstrate and create technology to solve a problem, using leadership and technology skills to serve their school or community. STLP also provides opportunities for students to share those projects, products and services at local, district, regional, state and national events.

Will, Samuel, Matthew and Mason presented their project at the Regional STLP Showcase at Western Kentucky University in December and were invited to present at a state competition in April. They also presented to the Chamber’s Board of Directors and key TLIM investors on Feb. 9 as part of their requirement to document how they have grown their project.

The students wanted to build a website focused on TLIM because they felt the program was not fully understood by students, parents and the community. Because McNeill is working to achieve Lighthouse status through TLIM, they believed their project would be a productive way to share TLIM activities at McNeill.

“The project they chose to focus on had to be something that would have an impact on their school and/or the community, and I feel this is very relevant,” said Elizabeth Riggs, teacher and STLP coordinator at McNeill. The students have been working on their project since October on Tuesday afternoons and the group was required to meet to work on the project outside of school. 

“Throughout these few months, they have learned about digital citizenship as well as a variety of ways they could use technology to share their project,” Riggs said.

Through their involvement in STLP, the students have learned to:

  • Demonstrate creative thinking and knowledge and develop innovative products using technology (Habits: Begin With The End in Mind; Be Proactive)
  • To work collaboratively with others and communicate information and ideas effectively to a multitude of audiences using a variety of digital media (Habits: Be Proactive; Synergize; Seek First to Understand Then to Be Understood)
  • To research and plan strategies that will be effective ways to share information (Habit: Put First Things First)
  • Critical thinking, Problem-solving, Decision-Making skills and Time Management Strategies  (Habits: Think Win-Win; Put First Things First)
  • To demonstrate personal responsibility as lifelong learners (Habit: Sharpen the Saw)
  • To exhibit leadership and share knowledge through public speaking (Habit: Find your Voice)

“This is the exact kind of project the Chamber likes to share,” said Chamber Vice President of Partnership Services Tonya Matthews. “The Leader in Me is an extremely important initiative, and we are so fortunate to have schools and businesses that support such growth in our community and future workforce.”


About the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce:

Incorporated in 1935, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce is a 5-Star Accredited Chamber by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and was named the 2009 Chamber of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. As the fourth largest chamber in Kentucky, the Chamber serves as a premier business advocate for its more than 1,200 partners and is the driving force for economic development in South Central Kentucky. Its primary goals are to promote growth and success in the business community, reaching its small business partners and those in large industries alike. With leadership programs, governmental relations projects, educational initiatives and involvement opportunities, the Chamber aims to support the community and its neighbors in order to enhance the business climate and continue to grow the region.