What's Happening in Character Education?

Q. What can schools do to keep students safe?

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Mon, Nov 4, 2013 @ 20:11 PM

From the 2013 NSOC magazine: Edited by Joseph Mazzola with permission of the authors

In the wake of too many school shooting tragedies, we at CEP know that educators and parents in every school community are looking for solutions that work, so we posed this question to several national experts, and here is what they had to say.

A. From studying thousands of schools, we know that many students feel very unsafe.
We also know that educators and parents underestimate how unsafe the students feel. There are many experiences—individual, interpersonal, and organizationally—that can contribute to students feeling and/or being unsafe. And there is not a simple or single solution to this very complex problem. Short term curriculum and programs do not typically make a difference. However, there are some school-wide processes, as well as teaching strategies and one-on-one methods, which can lead to students feeling and being safer in schools. Here are some that align perfectly with CEP’s Eleven Principles of Effective Character Education and our Center’s school climate reform efforts.

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Topics: school climate, school safety, school shootings, community of character

A Virtues-Based Community: More than just a Dream

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Mon, Oct 7, 2013 @ 07:10 AM

By Dr. Raquel Castrodad
“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” – William Arthur Ward

The quote from what is a brilliant ad slogan, “Just Do it!,” should be the guiding light and starting point of this voyage towards achieving a virtues-based community. It was for us. We are just a rural school in the middle of a little island, but we had big dreams (and now have even bigger dreams). Stephen Butler Leacock may have said it best when he said, “It may be that those who do most, dream most.”

The attainment of a virtues-based community requires a vision, a plan, the will, and the courage to act. The vision begins. As the possibilities are explored, the vision expands. The journey has begun. It truly is as simple as that! “Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.” said James Allen.

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Topics: character, character education, school climate, character education in curriculum, National School of Character, National Forum, CEPForum13, community of character, virtues

Taking Your School from Good to Great

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Tue, Sep 24, 2013 @ 09:09 AM

Character education is often misunderstood. It is more than a word of the month or an assembly to honor students with good character. It exceeds catching students being good and helping those who are less fortunate. Character education is not a program, but a philosophy about how we ought to treat one another and why. 

The fundamental lessons in relationship building and character development need to begin with the staff, not the students. Once relationships among the staff are nourished, trust evolves and true understanding and implementation of character education can begin. 

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Topics: character, character education, National School of Character, teachers, what works in education, CEPForum13, community of character

It really is a 'Grand Old Flag'

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Fri, Jun 14, 2013 @ 08:06 AM

By Joe Mazzola

Today is Flag Day-- at time to remember our nation's freedoms and core values. I try to do that regularly.

On Memorial Day, I attended a special ceremony at a small cemetery in the town that I now call home.  It was one of the most touching ceremonies
I’ve ever attended. I felt like I had gone back in time to what I picture as “small town America.” 

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Topics: character, core values, community of character, patriotism

Character Beyond the Classroom: Cesar Chavez and Fred Korematsu

Posted by Adam Williams on Sat, Nov 3, 2012 @ 11:11 AM

Family members of two iconic American civil rights leaders joined the CEP2012 attendees Friday to address the connection between character and taking important public action. Anthony Chavez, the grandson of Cesar Chavez, and Karen Korematsu, the daughter of Fred Korematsu, shared personal stories, inspiring visions, and core values from their experiences with these two leaders. 

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Topics: character education, CEP2012, leadership, moral character, community of character, CEPForum10

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, family, leadership, president's post, National Forum, community of character

Back to School and Back to Stress for Some Students

Posted by Irene Sullivan on Tue, Sep 4, 2012 @ 13:09 PM

It’s a fresh start. A chance to start over. An opportunity to be successful, to put the past behind, to forge a new reputation and to have perfect attendance. The new school year offers students new teachers, new friends, new challenges and new rewards.

Sadly, for many middle and high school students, it’s another year of half-hearted attempts to get to school, cherry-picking classes to attend, discouragement, suspensions, falling behind, temptations from the outside world, little parental encouragement to attend school every day and eventually being labeled a “dropout.” 

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Topics: key lessons, Forum Speakers, what works in education, community of character

Creating "a culture of integrity" in Atlanta Public Schools

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Fri, Jul 8, 2011 @ 17:07 PM

It’s comforting to see something good come out of something bad.  There’s not much more scorn that can be heaped upon the Atlanta Public Schools after the cheating debacle that surfaced this week in the news, shedding light on a scandal involving educators, administrators, standardized test scores, shocking lapses in morals, and examples set for our nations’ students that will take years of effort to undo.  But yesterday’s revelations are a huge step in the right direction. 

According to Interim Superintendent Erroll B. Davis Jr., Atlanta Public Schools will work toward achieving “a culture of integrity” as well as a “more open and transparent culture” among its schools, administrators, and teachers.  Too little, too late?  Certainly not. It’s a monumental step in the right direction, and CEP would like to offer information and resources

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Topics: character education, character education in curriculum, community of character

International Comparisons

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Tue, Jun 7, 2011 @ 17:06 PM

We’ve all been hearing about great educational systems of nations such as Finland and Japan. If you haven’t yet seen “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants,” unveiled recently at an event attended by Secretary Duncan, John Merrow’s blog post provides a succinct summary of insights and a link to the report itself.

It’s worth taking a look at what these countries are doing to see if we can learn from them. If these countries don’t debate school choice, teacher accountability, or high-stakes testing, why do we? Will all of our interventions and measurements really make our students achieve more? Perhaps Merrow is right to point to our divergent state policies and lack of support or respect for teachers as weak areas of our educational system.

Even so, that leaves us with the question, “What do we focus on right now?”

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Topics: school climate, parent involvement, Education News, leadership, National School of Character, international education, community of character

Ways to Celebrate Our Teachers

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Tue, May 3, 2011 @ 17:05 PM

Today is National Teacher Appreciation Day. What is your school doing to honor the hard work of its teachers? While some schools stretch out their celebrations throughout the full length of Teacher Appreciation Week with breakfasts and other recognition activities, other schools seem to let the day pass without any acknowledgment of any kind. Just take a look at some of the comments here (May 1st post) and here (May 1st post).

If you could come up with your own way to acknowledge the hard work of all of our teachers, school leaders, and the faculty and staff as a whole, what would you do?

Here's one idea that was recognized as a 2010 Promising Practice.

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Topics: character education, school climate, leadership, core values, teachers, community of character