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Farmington Students Learn Keys to Success in 7 Habits

A new parent group presents activities that step in where the district's gifted program left off.

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, more than 200 Farmington Public Schools students picked up some good habits at the in Farmington Hills.

Turnout for the "7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens" workshop, based on a book by Sean Covey, son of "7 Habits" founder Stephen Covey, impressed everyone – even representatives from the Covey organization.

Steve Yauch, client partner for Franklin Covey Education, said, "What they've done here is phenomenal, the response they've had from parents and the community, filling it both days."

Through a full day of presentations, videos and activities, students learned about being proactive, putting first things first, and thinking win-win, among other lessons.

Kevin Hess of Farmington Hills brought his children Dillon, 12, and Gina, 10, because he and his wife, Rhonda, have both been through the Covey organization's "7 Habits" workshop for adults.

"I find it pretty beneficial, and I think they'll get something out of it," he said as he dropped the children off on Monday. "Plus, it gets their brains ready for school."

By the end of the day, Gina Hess said, "I did learn a lot from it." She said one of the lessons was about how to listen more in conversations with her parents, rather than yelling. "You need to mirror back what they're saying," she said.

Farmington Together for Accelerated Learners (TAL) and the Farmington PTA Council joined forces to present the workshop. TAL organizer Tina Yoder said the group put the word out about the event through the district's list serv, as well as local media. But ultimately, she said, the response is a tribute to the people who walked through the doors with their children.

"I think this says a lot about parents in our community," she said. "We have a community of parents who want their kids to succeed."

That's also the reason behind the growth of TAL, which launched in June as a response to the elimination of Farmington Public Schools' Delta program for gifted students, due to budget reductions. As Yoder was advocating for her own son, she found other parents of accelerated learners who had similar concerns.

"It's a very challenging world," Yoder said. "Kids who are doing really well have lost the drive and motivation, and we need to find things to keep their motivation and drive high."

She recognizes that until the district receives more funding, the options for students like her son will be limited. However, she added, "The district is very open to finding creative ways to meet their needs."

While TAL's advocacy and meetings are focused around the needs of high-achieving learners, "The activities for TAL are open to everyone with the belief that when you're reaching high, everyone's lifted," Yoder said.

Also, she added, it's not just about students who are going to college. No matter what a child's vision is for the future, Farmington TAL wants to help them achieve it.

"My overarching goal is to have a strong society, by helping kids fulfill their dreams," she said.

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