What's Happening in Character?

How the 11 Principles Can Transform a School

Posted by Tamra Nast on Thu, Nov 9, 2017 @ 09:11 AM

Tamra Nast.jpgThe 11 Principles of Effective Character Education offers a comprehensive roadmap to building a culture of character in your school or organization. It is a research-based, proven framework that supports character development by guiding the implementation of core values and embedding character into every aspect of your school or organization’s culture.  

The 11 Principles Framework is the process that enables you to live your core ethical and performance values. It is not a curriculum, set of materials or a pre-packaged program to buy or implement. While each principle has a separate focus, the real benefit is how they all fit together, creating a picture of what character looks like in a school or organization. The guidelines provide both the direction and flexibility for individualizing to any environment.  This process also includes an assessment tool to aide with the fidelity/reliability and sustainability of your character initiative. We have received feedback that training from the professionals at Character.org helps schools and organizations build successful character initiatives, and that this process works 100% of the time when applied.

“The impact of this process was so dramatic that our entire community will continue to develop into ethical citizens that are committed to building a just and caring world!!”

Imagine building a culture in which students and staff feel safe and cared for, where academic scores increase while disciplinary referrals decrease. Schools that effectively implement the 11 Principles framework benefit from better staff retention and higher graduation rates than the national average. Parents and community members are more engaged, and attendance rates increase because staff and students want to be there each day.

“The 11 Principles of Character have been a guiding force to our coaching and mentoring as a youth-serving sports and education organization.”

The 11 Principles essentially advocates for full organizational assessment, which is proven in schools and also works well for most organizations and businesses. Broken down, the framework includes using a comprehensive approach to develop and define the organization’s core values in order to create a caring community. The organization must also provide opportunities for moral action, foster self-motivation and shared leadership and engage families and community members as partners. A crucial aspect is to habitually assess the culture and initiatives and learn from them to grow further.

We believe in the power of the 11 Principles and the positive effect it can have in communities across the country. We want to help schools and organizations build a caring and productive culture, and we have professional 11 Principles trainers who can walk your team through each principle and help you develop the right plan for your community.

“As a business professional and a parent, my goal was to ‘learn something that surprised me,’ and I have an entire page full of notes.”

It’s best to have all members of an organization included in the training and the work that follows. During a workshop, stakeholders collaborate to make important decisions which impact the depth and scope of their initiative. Being a part of the process, puts everyone on an equal footing and contributes to stakeholder buy-in to make the initiative successful. Often times, workshop participants realize they are already practicing many of the things outlined in the 11 Principles. Our trainers help participants connect all the good things they are already doing, provide them with an understanding of how they fit into the 11 Principles, and help them see what is possible as they take their next steps.

Seeing what’s possible can be a powerful impetus to transforming the culture of an organization.This creates excitement and enthusiasm for the process and builds momentum to propel their initiative forward.  

“As a business professional and a parent, my goal was to ‘learn something that surprised me,’ and I have an entire page full of notes.”

In my 13 years of experience with the 11 Principles, I have found that in all cases positive change happens in organizations. In fact, I believe that everyone who touches this process becomes a better person.

*Character.org offers several types of workshops from half-day overviews to multi-day, multi-trainer deep dives with customizable options in between to assist with the application of the 11 Principles. Character.org trained professionals conduct all workshops.


Tamra Nast is Character.org’s Director of Professional Development. She has been training in the 11 Principles for 13 years, and prior to retirement last year, she worked in Birmingham Public Schools in Michigan. To schedule a training for your school or organization, contact her at [email protected]