What's Happening in 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

Student Leadership for All

Posted by Lisa Stutts on Mon, Aug 17, 2015 @ 09:08 AM

By Lisa Stutts, Special Education Teacher at 2015 National School of Character: Northern Parkway School

Can all students be leaders? How do we empower leadership in our school?

All students can be leaders.

We as educators may need to shift our mindset to believe it. We all can fall into the trap of having our “go to” students; it’s routine and easy for us and we do it without thinking.  Some students may appear as natural leaders, while others need much more training. It is those students we need to make sure we give several opportunities to develop their leadership skills, and as a parallel develop their character. Just as we scaffold and modify classroom work, we can do the same with leadership. We need to trust and empower our students to be leaders at their individual pace.

Teachers need to find creative ways to provide leadership opportunities to all students.

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Topics: leadership, student engagement, Shared Leadership

Starting Your Character Education Journey

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Wed, Jan 14, 2015 @ 11:01 AM

 

By Becky Sipos

For me, the New Year always brings an attitude of fresh start along with a reflection on accomplishments or disappointments of the past year. Pick up any magazine and you can see the imperatives: Lose 10 pounds in two weeks, plan more nutritious meals, get fit in only 15-minutes a day and so on.  

For schools, the imperatives usually revolve around better classroom management, helping low-achieving students to be more successful, getting all faculty onboard with positive school goals, or meeting state and federal testing requirements.

The trouble with most New Year’s resolutions is that the adopters are often looking for a quick fix. Unfortunately, neither losing weight nor transforming school culture is a quick fix, but both are worthy goals.

For educators looking to change their school culture, Character.org’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education offers guidelines for an effective program. But teachers sometimes think they are designed to be a step-by-step recipe beginning with #1 and progressing through step #11. But really, you can start with any principle. If you are looking to jump start your character education journey this year, here are four suggestions for ways to get started now.

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Topics: character education, school climate, leadership, what works in education, teacher development

How to Become a Socially Inclusive School

Posted by Rob McManamy on Sun, Mar 2, 2014 @ 17:03 PM

By Dr. Maurice Elias, Director

Social-Emotional Learning Lab, Rutgers University

IN ITS COMPREHENSIVE CASE STUDY OF SOCIALLY INCLUSIVE SCHOOLS, Special Olympics' Project UNIFY (3) identified the common factors across schools that had created a bridge from social inclusion programs to a genuinely positive school climate. The case study findings are here (4), and I'm also going to share with you key lessons learned that reflect my own work in fostering inclusive settings.

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Topics: leadership, social-emotional learning, inclusiveness

A Call to All Social-Emotional Learning Leaders

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Mon, Nov 18, 2013 @ 08:11 AM

By Maurice Elias,Professor, Rutgers University Psychology Department and Edutopia Blogger

It's time for the leaders of the social-emotional learning (SEL) and character education fields to jump in the sandbox together and create a set of common guidelines for implementation in schools.  This is a variation of the "Manhattan Project" called for years ago by Tim Shriver, a founder of CASEL.

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Topics: character education, leadership, social-emotional learning, Elias Maurice

The Content of Our Character

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Mon, Aug 12, 2013 @ 21:08 PM

By Mark Hyatt
President & CEO

This Aug. 28 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have A Dream” speech—or as we like to refer to it at CEP, his “Content of Character” speech.
From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, addressing more than 250,000 civil rights supporters who had gathered in 1963 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Dr. King reportedly had not intended to list examples of his “dream.”

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Topics: Character Education News, role models, character, character education, leadership, president's post, teachable moments

Happy Campers Building Character

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Mon, Jul 29, 2013 @ 20:07 PM

By Mark Hyatt, President & CEO

Before the summer slips away from us all, I would be remiss if I did not take a moment here to talk about the wonderful experience that occurred June 16-21 at CEP’s  second Leaders of Character Camp (LoCC), hosted once again by my alma mater, the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Many thanks to our individual sponsors and the SD Bechtel Foundation for making this camp possible.

Despite another unsettling Colorado summer clouded by the threat of continuing wildfires, 19 high school juniors and seniors from across the state were able to put their worries aside for a week and concentrate solely on improving themselves and each other. Led by five AFA cadets and four students from other colleges, the group took part in a range of classroom discussions and competitive outdoor activities designed to promote teamwork, trust, creativity,accountability and other core values. 

“It’s a way to equip youth with habits of honorable character,” explained Maj. Dale Sanders, LoCC director and deputy director of the AFA Center for Character and Leadership Development. This year’s challenging group exercises included hiking, biking, rafting, geocashing and paintballing.

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Topics: CEPLeaders, character, character education, leadership, president's post, core values

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

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: CEPLeaders, character, leadership, integrity

Promising Practices Spotlight: Clifton-Clyde High School

Posted by Jesse Marble on Fri, Mar 15, 2013 @ 10:03 AM

Clifton-Clyde High School – Clyde, KS

Program: Mock Interviews

At Clifton-Clyde High School in Clyde, Kansas, students participate in mock interviews to prepare them for life after high school and/or college. This Promising Practice implements two principles from CEP’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education: using a comprehensive approach, and offering a meaningful and challenging academic curriculum.

Each student develops a résumé, cover letter, and application form that addresses their chosen field of study (e.g., medicine, education, etc.). Three weeks before the interview, each student’s information is mailed to the “interviewer” for a personal critique. The students participate in four 15-minute interviews on the day of the mock interviews. One week after the mock interview session, each student will mail the interviewers a follow-up thank you letter, thus preparing them for the “real thing” once they enter the work force.

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Topics: character education, leadership, character education in high school

‘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

Happy Holidays and A Call to Action from Mark Hyatt

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Tue, Dec 25, 2012 @ 10:12 AM

Dear CEP Family—

 

On behalf of the entire CEP staff and Board of Directors, I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and New Year. 

Like most of America in these uncharacteristically somber days, we at CEP are filled with great sadness as the K-12 community from coast to coast takes its winter break and bids farewell to 2012. We are sad because we know that too many young people are still suffering in our society, due to many factors, not the least of which is violence in schools and surrounding neighborhoods.

Earlier this month, in the wake of the monstrous tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “Our schools should and must be one of the safest places in society. Now is the time for another, ‘quieter heroism’ in our schools—the courage to move forward, to continue to teach and lead children, and to take smart precautions to minimize the risk of future tragedies.”

We share this commitment to press onward with both courage and character. In 2013, CEP will take up this cause with hope and renewed purpose to help more families, schools and communities surround our young people with life-affirming experiences, role models and media that encourage them to be their best selves.

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Topics: role models, parent involvement, leadership, president's post, school safety

National Schools of Character Lead Post-Sandy Service Learning

Posted by Lara Maupin on Wed, Nov 21, 2012 @ 09:11 AM

Eloisa DeJesus-Woodruff, Principal of 2012 National School of Character (NSOC) Richard Stockton Elementary in Cherry Hill, New Jersey was so moved by the devastation being faced by her fellow citizens in New Jersey and New York in the wake of Sandy that she returned from the National Forum ready to act. She had a vision of mobilizing the National Schools of Character to help those in need – other NSOC communities that were impacted as well as anyone else who needed help through the Red Cross. She hoped her students could help others and would have the opportunity to share stories with other students in other communities around the country. Knowing the power of service learning in her own community, she envisioned how much impact the NSOCs could have by working together.

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Topics: CEPLeaders, Service learning, leadership, National School of Character, resiliency

Call for Stories: How Are You Helping Superstorm Sandy's Victims?

Posted by Katie Hood on Tue, Nov 20, 2012 @ 16:11 PM

Superstorm Sandy devastated much of the East Coast at the end of October. Millions lost homes, pets, electricity, and some have lost hope. However, many of our National Schools of Character have mobilized to help alleviate the issues that many of these communities are facing. 

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Topics: character, Education News, leadership, National School of Character

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

Preventing Bullying and Developing Leaders

Posted by Kalyn Mace-Guilloux on Tue, Oct 30, 2012 @ 10:10 AM

A 2011 study in Virginia elementary, middle, and high schools found that bullying is considered the primary safety concern of students in all grade levels (Garrow, 2011). Students in middle school were most concerned with bullying (92%), followed by elementary (83%) and high school students (77%). Bullied students may experience many negative effects, including depression and risk for suicide (Kim & Leventhal, 2008). These statistics are alarming, and it is important to understand the ways that schools and districts can exponentially reduce these concerns so that students are able to concentrate on learning and build healthy peer relationships.

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Topics: Forum Speakers, leadership, teachers, bullying advice

Where the Spirit of Learning Soars & Character Grows: a Good-to-Great Story

Posted by Scott Taylor on Tue, Oct 23, 2012 @ 10:10 AM

Eight years ago, Crestwood Elementary School in St. Louis, Missouri, became truly engaged in character education. We were already a pretty good school and doing some character education, but a district decision directed all schools to do more character education following the Caring School Community (CSC) program with its emphasis on autonomy, belonging, and competence. A leadership team of four staff and one parent became excited about the possibilities that an increased focus on character education could bring to our school. Now, eight years later Crestwood has just finished a remarkable year when we were named not only a National School of Character, but a National Blue Ribbon School as well —the only school in the nation to receive both of these prestigious national awards.

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Topics: Forum Speakers, character education in curriculum, leadership, National School of Character, what works in education

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

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

President's Post: Can Character Be Taught? In a Word, "Yes!"

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Fri, Sep 14, 2012 @ 11:09 AM

Intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character, that is the goal of true education.”  - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

At the Character Education Partnership (CEP), we certainly believe character can and should be taught. So I have been particularly thrilled by all the attention and wide praise that has been garnered by the important new book, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character, by Paul Tough. He argues compellingly that teaching reading, writing, arithmetic, and right from wrong is absolutely essential to producing not just good students, but good people.

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Topics: character education, leadership, president's post, what works in education

Character and the Economy: Why Do Performance Values Matter?

Posted by Carol Dreibelbis on Tue, Jul 10, 2012 @ 15:07 PM

On July 3rd, the eve of Independence Day, the White House hosted a meeting on citizen-based innovation. The main charge of the meeting was to answer the question, “Where do we go from here?” at a time when the country is struggling economically. Each panel and discussion focused on how we can leverage social innovation and the United States’ finest resource—“the people”—to be resilient and move forward, as a nation.

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Topics: character, Education News, leadership, core values

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, role models, leadership, integrity

Helping Girls Become Confident Leaders

Posted by Michele Borba on Tue, Mar 20, 2012 @ 15:03 PM

Contributed by Michele Borba

Parenting advice on how to raise strong, confident daughters from the inside out based on research by the Girl Scouts of the USA

What parent doesn’t want his or her daughter to be a leader? After all, that top role – be it debate captain, head cheerleader, newspaper editor, play director, student body president – is deemed the epitome of success. These are the kids whom adults applaud and peers look up to.

Make no mistake, each leadership success is one more step up a ladder, and each rung up the ladder gives girls that needed “edge” to be accepted to their choice college, win that scholarship or lucrative job. But even more important: those positions are the best ways to build our daughters’ character, integrity and confidence. There is some truth to that old “We’ve come a long way, baby” slogan. Our girls have come a long way in overcoming the “'Boys Only’ Leadership Club.”

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Topics: parent involvement, leadership, Michele Borba

Graduation Wisdom

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Mon, Jun 13, 2011 @ 17:06 PM

June is a great time to evaluate the things that really matter in life. With school years ending across the country and the great weather kicking into high gear (already turning into overly hot, humid days here in Washington, DC), we all begin to take a look at the Class of 2011. Graduates at all levels are being recognized for their hard work and accomplishments as they embark down future paths that are at the same time invigorating and uncertain.

It is interesting, therefore, to study the words that are spoken on these historic occasions. What messages come across? What themes can we promote to future graduates? You will be hard pressed to find a graduation speech that extols the wisdom of achieving fame and wealth. Despite America’s ambitious and capitalistic nature, when it comes down to these defining moments in our lives, we stop to think about the qualities of life that really matter—things like being kind to others, respecting and valuing different opinions, being open to new experiences throughout your life—in general finding a way forward on the path to happiness.

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Topics: leadership, core values, graduation

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

"Character By Design" - Systematic Character Education Curriculum Development

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Mon, Apr 12, 2010 @ 18:04 PM

Submitted by Donna Dunar, principal, Alta Leary Elementary School

What’s that old adage, “Necessity is the mother of invention”? In 2009, we earned National Schools of Character (NSOC) winner status; in 2008, we earned standing as “finalist.” As a finalist in the NSOC process, our site visitors rightly recommended that we work on the integration of character education so as to make it more systematic. We took this feedback to heart as we grappled with what this actually meant.

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Topics: CEPLeaders, Character Education News, character education, character education in curriculum, leadership, Character Ed Infused in Curriculum