One of the things I always liked about teaching is that each year brings a beginning and a closure. Most jobs don’t have that; days and years tend to run together, with varying projects, perhaps, but no ceremonial starts and stops. Of course, for education, the biggest ceremony of all is graduation.Read More
What's Happening in Character?
As a staff, we believe in practicing what you preach, and as such we often reflect on our own core values. When we drill down to the root of it, many of us come to find that it was indeed our family who instilled the values we've come to know, love and live by. Below, you'll find stories from some of the Character.org team and how our families influenced our character.Read More
The teaching of values sounds like something that should be done at home under the parents' discretion, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, not all parents are doing this. This may be due to a number of reasons, so who is to take on this essential job?
As teachers, if we focus solely on teaching academic content without a moral compass, what kind of citizens are we producing? Educated people that lack a strong moral foundation run the risk of applying their skills in ways that do not enhance the quality of our world. Even worse, they run the risk of using those skills to lead people in the wrong direction, and if one day they find themselves in a position of power, they may use it to make decisions that are destructive to our communities or world. If world leaders of the past held values that were deeply rooted from a young age, mankind would be in a better place for it. This is our chance to make a difference for the future of our world, to create a society of smart and good citizens, and it is imperative that we approach it the right way.Read More
Principle 1: Promotes Core Ethical and Performance Values as the foundation of good character.
“...the core values that underpin sustainable development - interdependence, empathy, equity, personal responsibility and intergenerational justice - are the only foundation upon which any viable vision of a better world can possibly be constructed.” -Jonathon PorrittRead More
by David B. Wangaard, Ed.D., The School for Ethical Education
Character.org has many resources that provide a clear definition of character education and effective practices. It is not unusual, however, to find varying interpretations by educators. Specifically, the distinction between moral and performance character has created a division within the field of character education. Some educators have chosen to focus singularly on performance character such as perseverance, creativity and positive attitude with the goal to market to parents these attributes as uniquely supporting student success. While those values may be well received by parents and the public, it is important to consider why we should include moral values and sustain the connection between moral and performance character.Read More
Principle 1, ““The school community promotes core ethical and performance values as the foundation for good character,” becomes a little bit more challenging when you apply it to an entire district. How can an entire district create an intentional and unified effort to promote core values?
We turn to 2015 National District of Character, Pennsbury School District for the answer. Pennsbury unites all 15 of its schools with character education and each school manages to bring its own unique flare.
Here is an excerpt from “Roaring and Soaring Pennsbury Sounds Off for Character,” by Eileen Dachnowicz, an article in the 2015 National Schools of Character Magazine.Read More
by Patrick Keenoy, Principal, 2015 National School of Character, Rogers Elementary
One is not simply a leader because of a title or position held, rather, a leader is one who demonstrates positive character through their words and actions. These words and actions, should motivate others to give their best effort and be people of integrity. There is a definite link between leadership and gratitude.Read More
by Becky Sipos
Which is better: honesty or integrity? empathy or compassion?
Of course, it’s a bogus question. Both are good. At first glance, principle one sounds easy “Choose your core values.” But there are so many good qualities out there, how do you choose? And how long do you stick with your choices? When should you change?
Over the years that I have been evaluating schools for our Schools of Character program, core values seem to follow trends. In 2007 most of the schools had some variation on these: respect, responsibility and honesty. But in recent years, schools have been including values such as empathy, compassion or kindness. Is that because of the times? The Great Kindness Challenge got over 2 million students to perform acts of kindness last year. Did it also influence schools to change their core values?
Do events in the news affect what schools choose? Smith Street School’s whole education program came about because of their environment. “The stakes are so high,” says Dr. Triplett, “Because of the realities outside of our school, many kids in our area are in danger ... good character is, in many cases, a matter of life and death to our kids. They have to make good choices in life -- and we want them and their parents to understand the connection. For this reason, we see these students as OUR children. CE is so, so much deeper here for that reason.” They chose “reflection” as one of their core values as they really want their students to think through their actions.
Schools seem to fit into three categories when it comes to selected core values.Read More
by Rebecca Bauer
During my freshman year of high school, my favorite teacher pulled me aside. She explained that she was assembling a committee to rewrite the school’s character expectations and she was hoping I would help. Having attended the Montclair Kimberley Academy since age 6, I’d been hearing about these expectations for nearly a decade.
Respectful. Responsible. Confident. Friendly. Informed. Temperate. Fair. Honest.
There were a lot of them. And still, I knew them well.
I remember attending that first meeting. There was one representative from each grade, which meant I was only freshman in the room. It was intimidating but exciting. We began by discussing what purpose the character expectations served. Why were we revising them? What were our goals?Read More
While there’s no particular order you need to address each of the 11 Principles, naturally, many schools start with principle 1, “The school promotes core ethical and performance values as the foundations of core values.”
When it comes to principle 1, the most valuable resources you have at your disposal are your stakeholders: administrators, teachers, support staff, students, parents, community leaders…
However, there are some resources that can help you jumpstart the process, as well!
If you want to make the most of your most valuable resource, your stakeholders, first you need them to buy in. Need help convincing your staff, parents and larger community that character education isn’t just nice to have but absolutely necessary?
Show them “A Question of Character,” a short documentary from the Jubilee Center of Character & Virtues that demonstrates the need for character education and the impact it can make.
Looking to brainstorm core values before beginning your selection process? Take a look at the words Core Essential Values has chosen to highlight in their 2015-2016 Values Calendar. The Virtues Project is a great resource as well. Be sure to check out the comprehensive list of values complete with definitions.
There are so many core values to choose from, we couldn’t possibly name them all, but here are a few examples and some resources that can help you approach the topic.Read More