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Learning Through Leadership

As a Learning Through Leadership school of choice in Beaufort County School District, M. C. Riley is on a journey of incorporating Steven Covey’s eight effective habits to build individual accountability and academic achievement for all students.   Our school earned Lighthouse Status through Leader in Me® program in the spring of 2018.  We were the 280th school in the world to receive this seal of approval. 

At Michael C. Riley, we teach and practice an inside out model of personal development: be proactive; begin with the end in mind; put first things first; think win win; seek first to understand, then be understood; synergize; sharpen the saw; and find your voice.

Students in each class create a Mission Statement to guide their learning. Each Mission Statement supports our school-wide goal of improving performance in English Language Arts and math fluency. Each quarter students define Wildly Important Goals (WIGS) to chart their progress towards meeting academic and personal milestones. Students share their goals and achievements with family members during student led conferences and quarterly celebrations. 

Our students are not just leaders in the classroom, they are leaders throughout the school and in the community. Our school has an established application process for students to apply for leadership roles within our daily life as a school, and during celebrations. Students apply to become tour guides, narrators, greeters, organizers, TV crew, photographers, support staff, and featured speakers. Through our together is better synergy, we created a community of self-directed, goal oriented learners.  We host a Leadership Day each spring to invite the community to visit our school and see our Leader in Me Lighthouse School in action. 

We also feature Advanced Reading courses in grades 2-5 and Advanced Math in 3-5.  The Gifted and Talented Program services students in grades 3-5.  

Learn more by visiting the Leader In Me website.


As a Leader in Me® school, Michael C. Riley Elementary School embraces a philosophy and culture of student-driven learning on a daily basis. Our teachers facilitate instruction rather than direct it, and an inquiry-based model allows students to construct understandings and build twenty-first century skills such as collaboration, problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication. 

Since 2012, M.C. Riley has offered STEM investigations and challenges to all third, fourth, and fifth grade students and we expanded this offering to all students in kindergarten through fifth grade in 2015.  STEM and inquiry-based learning are integrated into everyday instruction in classrooms through The Leader in Me’s Empowered-Learning Approach and the “3i” model of instruction, in which all lessons involve components that first Invite Curiosity, then Investigate Content, and finally Invite Connections so that students can solidify their understanding.

Our STEM labs also provide opportunities for project-based challenges to extend the concepts that are being investigated within regular classrooms. Teachers visit STEM lab with their science and/or social studies classes so that not only can students engage in applications of the content that they are currently exploring, but teachers can use those experiences in STEM lab to further their instructional strategies in their own classrooms. This model was developed as a collaborative model to promote professional development in inquiry-based learning and the Engineering Design Process for teachers across the school. Connections can be made before and after STEM projects to help students create meaning