What's Happening in Character?

Mark Hyatt

Recent Posts

AN HONOR AND A PRIVILEGE

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Fri, Jan 10, 2014 @ 08:01 AM

Dear CEP Friends,

My many thanks to all of you. Yes, it is gratitude that overwhelms me this week as I step down as CEP President and CEO.
 
I accepted this position two years ago with the blessing of CEP founder Sandy McDonnell, who sadly passed away less than 80 days after I took office. Every minute since has been an honor and a privilege for me here to carry on Sandy's torch and to devote myself to advancing his defining life mission for this organization: to provide the vision, leadership and resources for schools, families and communities to develop ethical citizens committed to building a more just and caring world.
 

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Topics: character education, president's post, Hyatt Mark

We Truly Are All in this Character Effort Together

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Tue, Dec 17, 2013 @ 15:12 PM

Earlier this month, I was honored to speak, facilitate, and moderate several sessions at the Global Peace Foundation’s third annual International Summit on Character & Creativity in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. There, I shared an abbreviated version of our 11 Principles training, put in the context of transforming school social climate and culture, adapted to fit the customs of a given nation.

In attendance were hundreds of teachers, student teachers, administrators, policymakers and scholars from around the world. It was truly a mountaintop experience for me, just rubbing shoulders with such a diverse and accomplished group of people who share our passion for helping young people to become caring, ethical citizens. Why are ethics so important to all of us?

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Topics: character, character education, international education, peace, creativity

Can Cyber-citizenship Tame the Digital ‘Wild West’?

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Tue, Oct 29, 2013 @ 10:10 AM

The sudden emergence of a plethora of cyber issues that literally defines K–12 policy toward technology integration has created a dire need for ethical clarity and behavioral policy. The digital age beckons us to usher in a new era of character education, aimed directly at addressing the opportunities and challenges of living a digital lifestyle.
                                                                                         Jason Ohler, author
                                                                                         Digital Community, Digital Citizen

Amazingly, those timely words were written more than two years ago. But many parents, educators and other stakeholders—including some social networking sites—have been much too slow to dive into the rushing cyber currents already tossing youngsters to and fro online. So now, as another school year chugs toward the holidays and social media from coast to coast gears up for yet another tsunami of teenage emotions, unfiltered comments and inappropriate pictures, I hope more of us are ready to engage in our children’s digital lives.

In other words, even adults who feel woefully behind the e-curve now are coming to the grudging realization that they can’t bury their heads in the sand forever. And they cannot deny that they have an important role to play in guiding young people through what some have called “the Wild West” of the internet. And just as that bygone era of American history was known for its frontier justice before law and order could migrate from the East, today’s digital free-for-all is notoriously short of enough monitors to protect it from its own worst impulses.

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Topics: character education, cyberbullying, president's post, Hyatt Mark

Renewing commitments, battling bullies, and celebrating servant-leaders

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Wed, Oct 16, 2013 @ 20:10 PM

Another school year is now in high gear, and like you, we at “Character.org” once again find ourselves energized and empowered by all the new, hopeful faces we see each day and the
rejuvenated, resilient promise of the teaching profession, itself.

Making a difference.

That is your raison d’être and it is ours, as well. More precisely, our goal essentially is to help you achieve your overriding goal—to develop “ethical citizens committed to building a more just and caring world.” With that in mind, we know how incredibly busy you all are. So we are truly honored that so many of you will spend valuable time with us this month at our 20th National Forum on Character Education, Oct. 24-27, at the Washington Renaissance Hotel. Rest assured, we are committed to making this conference as useful, as interesting and as enjoyable for you as any professional development you have ever experienced.

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Topics: character, bullying, ethical and engaged citizens

Creating Safe Spaces that Nurture Learning

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Sat, Aug 31, 2013 @ 12:08 PM

When it comes to flourishing in school nowadays, scientific evidence is mounting that confirms what many of us have suspected all along—that if we want children to truly learn, and to perform better in life as both students and citizens, then we have to educate them in an environment that they see as safe, caring and nurturing. In short, school social climate matters, so social and emotional learning (SEL), combined with character education, just may be the magical combination that makes academic growth possible.

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Topics: character, CEPLeaders, character education, Character Education News, school safety, Hyatt Mark, social-emotional learning, Elias Maurice

The Content of Our Character

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Mon, Aug 12, 2013 @ 21:08 PM

By Mark Hyatt
President & CEO

This Aug. 28 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have A Dream” speech—or as we like to refer to it at CEP, his “Content of Character” speech.
From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, addressing more than 250,000 civil rights supporters who had gathered in 1963 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Dr. King reportedly had not intended to list examples of his “dream.”

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Topics: character, character education, Character Education News, leadership, role models, teachable moments, president's post

Happy Campers Building Character

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Mon, Jul 29, 2013 @ 20:07 PM

By Mark Hyatt, President & CEO

Before the summer slips away from us all, I would be remiss if I did not take a moment here to talk about the wonderful experience that occurred June 16-21 at CEP’s  second Leaders of Character Camp (LoCC), hosted once again by my alma mater, the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Many thanks to our individual sponsors and the SD Bechtel Foundation for making this camp possible.

Despite another unsettling Colorado summer clouded by the threat of continuing wildfires, 19 high school juniors and seniors from across the state were able to put their worries aside for a week and concentrate solely on improving themselves and each other. Led by five AFA cadets and four students from other colleges, the group took part in a range of classroom discussions and competitive outdoor activities designed to promote teamwork, trust, creativity,accountability and other core values. 

“It’s a way to equip youth with habits of honorable character,” explained Maj. Dale Sanders, LoCC director and deputy director of the AFA Center for Character and Leadership Development. This year’s challenging group exercises included hiking, biking, rafting, geocashing and paintballing.

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Topics: character, CEPLeaders, character education, leadership, core values, president's post

Empathy: To lead is to listen and to learn

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Thu, Jul 4, 2013 @ 14:07 PM

Thank goodness my wife opened my eyes to the importance of empathy before I became a father and a school leader. To be honest, for the first half of my life, I was so driven to achieve the task at hand that I struggled to understand why some people just couldn’t show up, get to work and do what they had to do. By definition, “empathy” is accurately understanding what another person is feeling.  If we understand the content of what the other person is saying, but cannot correctly identify the emotion that person is feeling, then we are not demonstrating empathy and we are not even aware of our deficiency. 

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Topics: CEPLeaders, Forum Speakers, National Forum, school climate, core values, parent involvement, moral character, role models, president's post, empathy

Leaders Must Earn Their Stripes Every Day

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Fri, Apr 26, 2013 @ 11:04 AM

The following post was originally published on the Whole Child Blog.

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Topics: leadership, integrity, core values

Happy Holidays and A Call to Action from Mark Hyatt

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Tue, Dec 25, 2012 @ 10:12 AM

Dear CEP Family—

 

On behalf of the entire CEP staff and Board of Directors, I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and New Year. 

Like most of America in these uncharacteristically somber days, we at CEP are filled with great sadness as the K-12 community from coast to coast takes its winter break and bids farewell to 2012. We are sad because we know that too many young people are still suffering in our society, due to many factors, not the least of which is violence in schools and surrounding neighborhoods.

Earlier this month, in the wake of the monstrous tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “Our schools should and must be one of the safest places in society. Now is the time for another, ‘quieter heroism’ in our schools—the courage to move forward, to continue to teach and lead children, and to take smart precautions to minimize the risk of future tragedies.”

We share this commitment to press onward with both courage and character. In 2013, CEP will take up this cause with hope and renewed purpose to help more families, schools and communities surround our young people with life-affirming experiences, role models and media that encourage them to be their best selves.

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Topics: leadership, parent involvement, role models, president's post, school safety

Another Sports Hero Turned Fraud? ‘Say It Ain’t So’

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Fri, Nov 16, 2012 @ 10:11 AM

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Topics: cheating, character, character education, moral character, president's post

President's Post: Leadership’s Most Essential Ingredient

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Fri, Oct 12, 2012 @ 13:10 PM

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Topics: CEPLeaders, Education News, leadership, integrity, president's post

President's Post: Off We Go!

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Tue, Oct 2, 2012 @ 13:10 PM

CEP VISION STATEMENT

Young people everywhere who are educated, inspired and empowered to be ethical and engaged citizens.

CEP MISSION STATEMENT

Providing the vision, leadership and resources for schools, families and communities to develop ethical citizens committed to building a just and caring world.

Exciting times for CEP!  On August 27th, we officially entered our 20th year of operation. To mark this milestone and further honor the enduring legacy of our late founder, Sanford McDonnell, we have expanded our mission and vision now to include families and communities, everywhere!

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Topics: Character Education News, leadership, National Forum, community of character, family, president's post

President's Post: Can Character Be Taught? In a Word, "Yes!"

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Fri, Sep 14, 2012 @ 11:09 AM

Intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character, that is the goal of true education.”  - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

At the Character Education Partnership (CEP), we certainly believe character can and should be taught. So I have been particularly thrilled by all the attention and wide praise that has been garnered by the important new book, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character, by Paul Tough. He argues compellingly that teaching reading, writing, arithmetic, and right from wrong is absolutely essential to producing not just good students, but good people.

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Topics: character education, what works in education, leadership, president's post

President's Post: Broader Impact of Bullying

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 @ 09:08 AM

Earlier this month, I attended the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Summit here in D.C. Now, we all know how concerned Secretary Arne Duncan and the U.S. Dept. of Education are about this issue. But I was particularly heartened to hear how pro-active the U.S. Justice Department is. They are also working to reduce and prevent school bullying across the nation. 

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Topics: bullying advice, Education News, key lessons, cyberbullying, president's post

Recent Scandals Highlight Need for Role Models

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Fri, May 11, 2012 @ 09:05 AM

When I was growing up, I heard adults say: “Do as I say, not as I do.”  After spending the last decade as a public school superintendent, it didn’t take me long to realize that the kids of this millennium don’t have much use for that approach. Instead, they prefer role models whom they can emulate in every way, every day -- folks who "walk the talk" and live their own message.

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Topics: character, ethics, core values, role models

Does 'Teaching to the Test' Actually Encourage Cheating?

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Fri, Jan 27, 2012 @ 16:01 PM

“Teachers matter,” said President Obama this week in his State of the Union address. “Instead of bashing them, or defending the status quo let’s offer schools a deal. Give them the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones. In return, grant schools flexibility: To teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test; and to replace teachers who just aren’t helping kids learn.”

We at the nonprofit Character Education Partnership (CEP) share this concern because “teaching to the test” can deceive stakeholders into thinking students are doing better than they really are. But in the current environment, we are even more alarmed by how the testing status quo seems to be adversely affecting the integrity of our education system, itself.

Recent revelations of widespread testing fraud in Atlanta's public schools are just the latest examples of a disturbing national trend that should finally force all of us who care about education to ask some uncomfortable but unavoidable questions. Chief among them: Has a national over-emphasis on standardized testing actually created a monster that is eroding the character of K-12 education?

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Topics: testing, cheating, no child left behind, character