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Walnut valley Unified School District

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Our motto is KIDS FIRST... Every Student, Every Day!   Walnut Valley USD is proud to be a National Schools to Watch District with numerous National Blue Ribbon, California Gold Ribbon, and California Distinguished School awards. 

Great Happens Here!

March 18, 2024                                              

By Kelli Gile, WVUSD Office of Community Resources 

DIAMOND BAR, CA--Every child who walks through our doors at Evergreen Elementary is a leader, has a voice, and is loved,” shares Principal Dr. Gabriel Cardenas.

Last year, the school committed to implementing and instilling “life-ready” skills from Steven R. Covey’s bestselling book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

“Our focus is cultivating the leader in every child,” he said.

On February 23, Student Action Team members happily greeted schoolmates entering campus and assisted in the front office.

Fifth grader Reina Chakrabortygupta delivered the Words of Wisdom message in the Principal’s office.

“I would have never thought I would be able to make school-wide announcements to more than 800 people!” she said.

“I feel so confident!”

The Leader in Me education model provides children with solid principles and skills to be successful beyond the school day and well into their future.

“Our goal is to become a Leader in Me Lighthouse School within the two-to-three years,” Cardenas said of the highly regarded global certification.

Student Lighthouse Teams represent each grade level and work with teachers to plan and implement leadership opportunities throughout the campus.

“How amazing it is to be a part of this whole-school transformation where we are equipping our students with the tools to be the true leaders of tomorrow,” shared second grade teacher Lily Chang.

Every Evergreen classroom created a mission statement, implemented leadership roles, and displays the 7 Habits Tree poster.

Leadership skills are embedded in curriculum that promote character development and personal growth.

“Students see themselves as leaders and have completely grasped the 7 Habits as they all have a common language and use it daily,” Chang added.

The goal is to have all TK-5th grade students able to demonstrate and recognize all 7 Habits by May 1, according to Cardenas.

The enthusiastic school leader is already witnessing students “flourishing” in the growing culture of student empowerment, love, and teamwork.

“Leader in Me is helping us develop students that are ready to meet the world and be great leaders,” he shared.

The innovative experience helps students learn how they can use the 7 Habits to help develop individual skills, skills to collaborate with their peers, and skills to work through peer conflict.

“We can be leaders and that means a lot to me,” said fourth grader Mark Du.

“I feel proud of myself and get to try new things, and I never give up.”


Soar into Leadership! Evergreen Elementary School’s Leader in Me initiative is cultivating leadership skills in all students.