What's Happening in Character Education?

Maintaining the Connection between Moral and Performance Character

Posted by David Wangaard on Mon, Dec 28, 2015 @ 14:12 PM

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.

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Topics: character education, moral character, core values

Spotlight on Pennsbury: Core Values Unite the District

Posted by Character.org Staff on Mon, Dec 14, 2015 @ 09:12 AM

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.

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Topics: core values, Schools of Character

How Do Good Leaders Demonstrate Gratitude?

Posted by Patrick Keenoy on Thu, Dec 10, 2015 @ 08:12 AM

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.

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Topics: leadership, core values, Teacher Appreciation

Choosing Your Core Values

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Tue, Dec 8, 2015 @ 11:12 AM

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.

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Topics: president's post, core values

How Principle 1 Changed My High School Experience

Posted by Rebecca Bauer on Thu, Dec 3, 2015 @ 09:12 AM

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?

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Topics: core values, 11 Principles, Shared Leadership

Resource Roundup: Getting Started with Core Values!

Posted by Rebecca Bauer on Tue, Dec 1, 2015 @ 08:12 AM

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!

Getting Started

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.

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Topics: integrity, core values, empathy, Kindness,, Resource Roundup, Character Resource Roundup

Nurturing An Attitude of Gratitude in Kids

Posted by Michele Borba on Thu, Nov 26, 2015 @ 06:11 AM

by Michele Borba

There’s something about the Thanksgiving season that tunes up my “reflective switch” and makes me think a bit more about our children. I worry that over the years we’ve removed ourselves a bit as a society from the real meaning of this glorious holiday. We’re seeing an upsurge–even in a recession–of kids who are a bit too spoiled, a bit too unappreciative, and a bit more ungrateful for all the good things life has to offer.

Don’t get me wrong, of course we want our kids to be happy and give them what they want. But have you noticed that sometimes our best intentions backfire? Instead of our kids being grateful for what they are given, they are disappointed or always seem to want “more.”

In all fairness, there are a number of factors that curtail our kids from being appreciative about the good things of life.

For starters: a relentless consumption-driven media that pushes kids to think they need more, and a fast-paced lifestyle that leaves little time to help kids count their blessings.

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Topics: core values, Parenting

Get Ready for Random Acts of Kindness Week!

Posted by Rebecca Bauer on Wed, Jan 28, 2015 @ 12:01 PM

Did you know that Random Acts of Kindness week is less than two weeks away? In order to provide you with the best resources, I turned to an expert. Marilyn Decalo, the Education Director at the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation explains how Random Acts of Kindness can transform your classroom, improve school climate and make the world a better place. She offers a variety of resources, including lesson plans, project ideas, videos, posters and graphics for you to use in your school.

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Topics: character, core values, Random Acts of Kindness, Decalo Marilyn

Integrating Character Across Subjects

Posted by Maricarmen Esper on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 @ 09:10 AM

“Beyond Accountability, Inspiring Greatness,” the theme of the CEP's 2014 National Forum on Character Education. As human beings, we all have sufferings: some of them are physical; some emotional; some are moral issues; and some are health problems. But no matter what our circumstances are, we can bring out our character and be as great of a person as Mr. Wrights is in this video titled “Inspiring Greatness.” 

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Topics: character, character education, core values, virtues

H.O.P.E. - Souls, Minds and Hearts, All Beating as One

Posted by Rob McManamy on Mon, Feb 10, 2014 @ 14:02 PM

Conference By Maricarmen Esper, author, speaker, character educator

As we all agree, character education is the main and essential part of education around the world. If we want a world with high ethics, virtues and peace, then governments, schools, families and communities all must promote, educate, evaluate, and try so hard to work for it.

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Topics: core values, international summit, ethics, peace