What's Happening in Character?

Letting Life Get Messy: Lessons from Kindergarten

Posted by Phyllis L. Fagell on Thu, Mar 9, 2017 @ 09:03 AM

A year ago, an eighth grade student came into my counseling office looking stricken. Over the weekend, Lara’s parents had told her they were moving from Maryland to a country in South America. Her father’s global job had taken her to far-flung places before, but she hadn’t seen this move coming. “I thought I’d be going to high school with my friends,” she told me, “not starting all over again. I don’t even speak Spanish!”

I felt for her. Change is hard, especially when it’s foisted on you. I worked with Lara to identify any elements in her control, including her own attitude. She had lived everywhere from Germany to Texas, and we talked about how she had successfully navigated those transitions. We also identified a few positives, including the likelihood she would master a new language.

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Topics: Advisory, character, integrity

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

The 8 C’s of Character

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Fri, Jun 21, 2013 @ 12:06 PM

 

By Ed DeRoche

There are only two C’s in “character,” but one can find many words that begin with C in describing good, positive character traits and behaviors. I’ve compiled a few C words that show the attributes of character.

1. Caring: Two important synonyms are “compassion” and “empathy.” Robert Krzaric wrote in The Greater Good’s e-newsletter that caring-empathy is one’s “ability to step into another person’s shoes, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding to guide our actions.” Most importantly, he notes that new research suggests that caring-empathy is “a habit we can cultivate.”

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Topics: character, character education, integrity, moral character

Heroes On and Off the Screen

Posted by Rob McManamy on Fri, May 17, 2013 @ 10:05 AM

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Topics: key lessons, leadership, integrity

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

Be More Than a Bystander: Speak Up Against Bullying and Violence

Posted by Rob McManamy on Tue, Apr 16, 2013 @ 10:04 AM

Since I started working with CEP over a year ago, I have found myself looking at virtually everything I do—see, hear, read about, etc.—through a prism of right-and-wrong, searching for a teachable moment in just about every action. But even so, I still feel that my experiences over the last five weeks have been unusually dominated by one recurring theme: the importance of speaking up.

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Topics: bullying advice, integrity, school safety

The Legacy of an Honorable Man: Remembering Sandy McDonnell

Posted by Joe Mazzola on Tue, Mar 19, 2013 @ 11:03 AM

One year ago, a great American died.  His name was Sandy McDonnell.  He was an honorable man who left behind a remarkable legacy.  It is one we can all learn from.

Sandy was brilliant.   After graduating from Princeton and completing graduate school in Colorado, he worked on the Top Secret Manhattan Project during World War II.  Afterwards, he went on to reach the very highest levels in the corporate sector.  He rose through the ranks to become CEO of a giant aerospace company.  Along the way, he traveled the world, met Presidents and heads of state, and received lots of high-level awards and honors.

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Topics: character, CEPLeaders, leadership, integrity

Lessons in Character and Integrity from Les Miserables

Posted by Joe Mazzola on Mon, Feb 11, 2013 @ 12:02 PM

It seems like everyone just can’t get enough of Les Miserables.  It’s the world’s longest running musical, now seen by 60M people in 42 countries.  Along the way, it’s received 96 major international awards.  The most recent movie version is a box office smash, earning eight Academy Awards nominations.

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Topics: character, integrity, ethics, moral character, role models

What’s the Worst Part of the Lance Armstrong Cheating Scandal?

Posted by Joe Mazzola on Tue, Jan 29, 2013 @ 12:01 PM

I was a big cycling fan before the sport got popular in our country.  And, back in the day, I was a pretty serious cyclist myself--I spoke the lingo, wore the gaudy jerseys, shaved the legs, rode custom racing bikes with “Campy Record” components and I had the muscled-up quads one only gets from logging thousands of miles in the saddle. 

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Topics: cheating, integrity, moral character, teachable moments

‘Our journey is not complete’, either

Posted by Rob McManamy on Wed, Jan 23, 2013 @ 12:01 PM

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Topics: key lessons, leadership, integrity, moral character, school safety

Character Education in the Digital Age

Posted by Sweta Haldar on Tue, Jan 8, 2013 @ 13:01 PM

Note: This is one in a series of excerpts from Jason Ohler’s book, Digital Community, Digital Citizenship, which explores the development of character education for those living a digital lifestyle.

PARTYCIPATION: SETTING THE STAGE

Digital citizenship is the term the world of K12 education has adopted to describe the many ethical and character education issues associated with living a digital lifestyle. While it might seem that the values associated with character education are eternal and wouldn’t change with the evolution of technology, the fact is that enough has changed that we need to call special attention to the unique issues associated with living side by side with the immensely powerful machines of our own creation, within a massively interconnected digital community. This is particularly true for our children, for whom technology and the issues associated with its use are largely invisible.

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Topics: integrity, character education in high school, ethics

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

Preventing Academic Dishonesty Part 3: Students & Peer Pressure

Posted by Melissa Crossman on Tue, Sep 11, 2012 @ 09:09 AM

As you sit in your crowded lecture hall and toil away at that seemingly impossible math problem, you glance down and see a peer in the next row surreptitiously looking at formulas he has scrawled on his hand. This scene sounds quite plausible to many students. Whether they’ve engaged in the behavior themselves or simply witnessed a friend or fellow student cheating, most students are familiar with academic dishonesty. It’s your job, as a moral and upright learner, to take a stand for what you believe in and do your part to combat cheating. If you fail to do so, you’ll be doing yourself and your fellow learners a disservice.

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Topics: cheating, integrity, student voice, moral character, role models

What Sandy Showed Me

Posted by Joe Mazzola on Fri, Mar 23, 2012 @ 11:03 AM

 I have a very heavy heart right now because Sandy McDonnell passed away. You see, he was my hero. Like many others who knew and loved this great man, I now feel a huge emptiness in my life that I know will never be filled. I loved Sandy like a father.

It was a great blessing to have him in my corner for the five years I served as CEP’s executive director. Anyone who knows me would surely tell you that I needed all the help I could get, too. And that was especially true since I had no experience in the nonprofit sector until Sandy and others hired me.  

Fortunately, on the work front, Sandy was always there for me. He coached and guided me through all of the really important and tough areas of running any organization—like financial management, strategic planning, human resources and more.

And, Sandy did all of this mentoring quietly and behind-the-scenes. Board members, staff and others never knew all he did for me from the shadows. That’s because Sandy was one of those very rare but genuine servant leaders that many of us read about but never meet. He couldn’t care less about being in the spotlight. Instead, he worked to make everyone else around him shine. 

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Topics: CEPLeaders, key lessons, leadership, integrity, role models

When Legal Isn't Enough: Penn State's Moral Character Issues

Posted by Katie Hood on Tue, Nov 15, 2011 @ 17:11 PM

As you have probably heard by now, Penn State’s illustrious football program is in shambles following allegations that several boys were molested by Jerry Sandusky, former defensive coordinator, in a Penn State facility as part of a program hosted by the school.

The school officials’ decision not to report the assault to the police is disappointing, shocking, and unfathomable for many.

The events are not only an embarrassment to the school, but raise serious issues about the school’s quality of ethics in its leaders. The university fired legendary coach Joe Paterno and several other high-ranking officials since they failed to report the abuse to authorities.

A letter from Penn State University president Rodney Erickson stated his commitment to reinforce the moral imperative of doing the right thing, to lead by example, to be transparent during investigations, to respect the victims and their families, and to provide resources to help prevent future attacks.

Sadly, however, this is not the first time Penn State (and other colleges and universities nationally) has turned a blind eye to sexual offenses.

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Topics: integrity, ethics, moral character

Veterans Day - A Teachable Moment

Posted by Joe Mazzola on Sun, Nov 6, 2011 @ 17:11 PM

I had the great fortune of being raised by a loving family. They instilled in me certain values that shaped me into the person I am today. None of the adults in my family had much of a formal education though. My grandfather, for example, came to our country at the age of 10 with about a fifth grade education. He was a water boy on the railroad and later became a shoemaker.

My father never graduated from high school either. He fixed wrecked cars for a living and eventually owned his own shop--“Mazzola’s Body Shop.” It never had running water or central heat. During the winter, he burned coal in a pot-belly stove to warm the place up. I loved hanging out at his shop, and I learned a lot, too. Most people don’t know it, but I’ve painted cars, changed engines, installed transmissions, and I still service my own vehicles. In fact, I’m doing a brake job on my son’s car this weekend.

Oh. I forgot to mention why my dad never graduated from high school.

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Topics: Service learning, integrity, family