What's Happening in Character?

What Inspires You To Be An Educator?

Posted by Cathy Berger Kaye on Thu, Oct 13, 2016 @ 09:10 AM

Being an educator caught me by surprise. I had a different route in mind when young, even though my older sisters were both teachers and I admired their work. During college, while an apprentice at a summer theatre company in Western Massachusetts, I was assigned to (or “gifted” with) developing a day long theater experience for kids coming out from Boston. Under a canopy of trees with a lively bunch of tweens, suddenly I found myself in a role I had not expected, and absolutely loved.

Today my inspiration comes from a vision of young people engaged in a world that extends beyond classroom walls. Of course I admire what occurs inside schools and universities. However, not all environments operate equally.

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Topics: National Forum

Make the World Better at the 2016 National Forum

Posted by Heather Cazad on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 @ 07:01 AM

A Message from Heather Cazad, Director of Operations:

During this National Forum in our capital city only a few weeks before a presidential election, we will discuss civic responsibility, creating good citizenship and building leadership in our communities. It’s up to us to make the world better, and we can do that by first developing better people. That’s why we’ve chosen the theme... Educate, Inspire, Empower: Building Productive and Caring Citizens.

With national leadership on our minds, let’s work on helping our students become engaged citizens. Not only are our youth the leaders of tomorrow, we can help encourage them to lead today.

Every fall for the past twenty-two years, educators, researchers, authors, and even students have come together in the interest of improving schools with character education to create a brighter future.

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Topics: National Forum

Linking Smart & Good: A Reflection on the 2015 Forum Theme

Posted by Maricarmen Esper on Tue, Oct 13, 2015 @ 12:10 PM

By Maricarmen Esper, Character Education Author and Speaker

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Topics: Forum Speakers, National Forum, Academics,

‘Big Six’ Leader in Civil Rights Movement to Keynote at National Forum on Character

Posted by Calvary Diggs on Thu, Aug 13, 2015 @ 07:08 AM

by Calvary Diggs

It’s a little over fifty years ago, and the United States exists in less vibrant tones and colors. No diversity. No rainbows. The atmosphere operates only on an absolute of black and white.

For one child, he first began to understand the diff

erence– one that he’d later describe as ‘inequality’ and ‘injustice’ – when he was denied access to a local library. He’s black. The library was for whites only.

Years later, the child – not so young and naïve anymore – finds a comic about a man named, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The child sees the similarities. Empathizes. Wants to help make the world a better place.

Many years later, he’s in college and a young man.

He decides to take part in the freedom rides. At twenty-three, he marches and speaks alongside Dr. King – his hero. The young man learns to understand generations of pain and hate while enduring a growing list of arrests and hate crimes. He has to exercise grit and determination at Selma as he’s violently attacked by police. And he shows courage and integrity to this day as a congressman working with the rights of others in mind.

This man is Congressman John Lewis, and we are honored to have him deliver a keynote address at the National Forum on Character Education.

As education professionals involved in character education, we frequently ask, “What does good character like in action?” To answer this question, we actively seek real-life role models and genuine examples. They provide us with the inspiration, ideas, and stamina necessary to lead our youth to becoming productive citizens with strong ethical principles. No one embodies these qualities better than John Lewis.

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Topics: Forum Speakers, National Forum

8 Reasons to Get Excited for the 2015 Forum on Character Education

Posted by Character.org Staff on Tue, Jun 9, 2015 @ 14:06 PM

Are you getting excited for the 2015 National Forum on Character Education? We certainly are! We’re looking forward to many new offerings including a Sports Track, Youth Track, Schools of Character Showcase and all that our new location, Atlanta, Georgia, has to offer.

Read on to hear about what our staff is looking forward to most, and share what you are excited about on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #character2015.

Becky: I'm excited for the 2015 Forum on Character Education for many reasons but one is the reception we're planning at the Georgia Aquarium. I love all the Forum content--keynotes, breakout sessions and more--that we provide at the conference, but I never have enough time to talk to people. By following our welcome reception with a "party" at the Georgia Aquarium, not only will we be able to see one of the top attractions in the state without the usual crowds, but we will have an extended chance to network with other educators and see friends we often see only once a year. What could be better--fish, friends, food, and fun! See you there.

 

Iris: I'm excited for the 2015 Forum on Character Education because this will be my 13th Forum!  I love seeing how eager attendees are to get back to their school and put into use the knowledge and best practices they learned from attending the Forum.

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Topics: National Forum

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

The OCHO Project: Read for a Need--Teaching Children to Help Others

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Sun, Sep 29, 2013 @ 19:09 PM

By Marilyn Perlyn

The OCHO Project: Read for a Need(Opportunities for Children to Help Others) exposes children to the joys of reading while teaching them that they can help others less fortunate than themselves. It is an elementary school program in which students embark on a 6-8 week literacy journey that is infused with eighteen character traits and service learning.

Children are asked several months later if they would like to share a book with another child in a different part of the world. Each year, donated books are brought to a different country by Marilyn Perlyn, founder of the OCHO Project. Books have already been donated to kids in need in Tanzania, India, Vietnam, Laos, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Kenya, and Namibia. In 2014 we will visit China!

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Topics: key lessons, character education, Service learning, character education in curriculum, National Forum, what works in education, international education, CEPForum13, Perlyn Maryilyn

Character Is Our Super Power

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Sun, Sep 22, 2013 @ 14:09 PM

 by Barbara Gruener

Is anyone out there as excited about the upcoming CEP National Forum as I am? One of my very favorite things about October is the chance to connect with other character educators from around the US and beyond its borders. It’s been an annual booster shot for me since I first attended when the Conference was held in Houston back in 2004.

Our school, Westwood Elementary, was selected the inaugural Texas State School of Character in 2007 and then honored with the National School of Character distinction in 2009. What an invigorating time that was for our school family. But we didn’t stay atop that mountain for long. Shortly after our celebration, budget cuts meant we’d be merging with the 4th and 5th grade campus next door; we are now navigating a new normal as a preK-5 school family.

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Topics: character, character education, character education in curriculum, National School of Character, National Forum, social-emotional learning, empathy

Powerful Analogies From Nature that Build Character

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Fri, Sep 20, 2013 @ 14:09 PM

by Barbara A. Lewis

Do you want to know something so strong that it survived the atomic explosion on Hiroshima? Might you guess a 400-pound gorilla that can hoist up 10 times its body weight?

Or how about Iron Man or the Hulk (not fair—they’re not real)?  Or what about the annoying cockroach?  Well, you would be right about the cockroach (which gives you a clue as to why they’re so hard to expel from your house). 

But you might not have considered bamboo. Surprise! Bamboo has more tensile strength than steel.  Knowing this, you might choose to build your next home with bamboo, because it could withstand 9.0 magnitude earthquake and last for hundreds of years. (You might want a new house before then though.)

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Topics: key lessons, character, character education, character education in curriculum, National Forum, CEPForum13, Character Ed Infused in Curriculum, empathy

Extra Early Bird Promotion Discount Ends Soon!

Posted by Jesse Marble on Fri, Jul 12, 2013 @ 09:07 AM

 

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Topics: Forum Speakers, school climate, promising practices, school safety, National School of Character, National Forum, international summit

Empathy: To lead is to listen and to learn

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Thu, Jul 4, 2013 @ 14:07 PM

Thank goodness my wife opened my eyes to the importance of empathy before I became a father and a school leader. To be honest, for the first half of my life, I was so driven to achieve the task at hand that I struggled to understand why some people just couldn’t show up, get to work and do what they had to do. By definition, “empathy” is accurately understanding what another person is feeling.  If we understand the content of what the other person is saying, but cannot correctly identify the emotion that person is feeling, then we are not demonstrating empathy and we are not even aware of our deficiency. 

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Topics: CEPLeaders, role models, Forum Speakers, school climate, parent involvement, president's post, moral character, core values, National Forum, empathy

Save the Date for CEP's 2013 Forum

Posted by Sweta Haldar on Fri, Apr 5, 2013 @ 11:04 AM

No one better understands the social challenges today's students face than educators. Last year, passionate character educators from around the world gathered to discuss pressing issues within education. CEP formally invites you to our 20th annual 2013 National Forum on Character Education, the ideal place to gain concrete ideas to improve your school. 

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Topics: character education, National Forum

Dealing with Difficult Students, A Challenge Worth Accepting

Posted by Adam Williams on Thu, Nov 1, 2012 @ 20:11 PM

Dealing with a difficult child is one of those necessary tasks in education and parenting that we would all choose to forgo if given the opportunity. The fact remains that dealing with these kids provides an excellent opportunity to shape and mold a student’s character.

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Topics: character, CEP2012, discipline, National Forum, bullying advice

Words into Action: Service Learning as a Teaching Strategy

Posted by Cathy Berger Kaye on Tue, Oct 9, 2012 @ 10:10 AM

What is Service Learning?

Simply put, service learning occurs in classrooms as students connect academics—skills and content—with authenticated community needs. Students grow a garden in science class that provides produce for a food bank or orphanage. While studying about World War II, students interview veterans of a past or current war to gain a deeper understanding of the particularities that affect men and women who serve, and use these stories to create a publication or performance to share what they learned with others. Students might take on an environmental issue, like the preponderance of single-use plastic water bottles that fill up dumpsters everywhere. They can use their persuasive writing abilities to develop a convincing marketing campaign for reusable water bottles and create PSAs to broadcast on local radio. And after interviewing the head of a local school with minimum resources, students have connected classroom studies to creating teaching resources that improve educational opportunities in their own backyard.

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Topics: Forum Speakers, Service learning, character education in curriculum, National Forum

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

Empathy in Action

Posted by Marilyn Perlyn on Wed, Aug 1, 2012 @ 11:08 AM

When my oldest son, Chad, was fourteen, he started a service learning project and was able to secure free medical and dental care for local children in our community who had no insurance. The lessons that Chad experienced as a teen stuck with him and now, at age 38, as a young pediatric plastic surgeon, those experiences are ingrained in him as he continues along his life journey. He just returned from his sixth trip to Haiti to help children who required surgeries following the devastating earthquake that happened in 2010.

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Topics: Service learning, family, teachable moments, National Forum

Resiliency in Youth: The Power of the Entrepreneur Mindset

Posted by Clifton Taulbert on Tue, Aug 30, 2011 @ 17:08 PM

When I was 13, I was hired by “Uncle Cleve,” a local entrepreneur who lived in my Mississippi Delta hometown of Glen Allan, to work with him at his Ice House. I had to wait on customers, cut the ice into multiple sizes, make change and be quick about it. I had to learn to speak up and to be polite even when I didn’t feel it was required. Even though I was only 13, I was involved in man’s work.

I found myself surrounded by a mindset of “I can and I will” …the thesis of my recent book, "Who Owns the Ice House?” The environment was so powerful that it gave me a new way of thinking. I didn’t have to do what everyone else was doing.

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Topics: National School of Character, National Forum, resiliency

Funding Ideas for Attending the National Forum

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Fri, Apr 29, 2011 @ 17:04 PM

It's that time of year again! Our first official invitation emails went out yesterday , signaling that registration for the 18th National Forum on Character Education is now open! (If you haven't received yours yet, let us know and we'll make sure you're in our system.)

We've already begun to hear about excited attendees and speakers who are low on funds for the conference. It certainly is a great expense, when you add up the registration fees, hotel costs, flights, and any other expenses that come to mind. We know what it's like, being a nonprofit ourselves in these challenging time. Know that we are constantly working to find funding opportunities for you. Our Director of Resource Development is as we speak trying to secure funds we can reserve for scholarship money for our wonderful attendees out there, and we will be sure to let you know as soon as funds do become available throughout this registration cycle.

In the meantime, what options are out there for finding funding on your own? Many schools have pulled travel and conference funding as budgets are being slashed across the nation. One of our breakout session speakers initially applied after confirming that funds were available to travel, but has since heard that none of those funds will actually be available. So it becomes vitally important to explore all possible options to find other sources.

Here are some ideas that can help get that process started, many of which have been successful endeavors by previous conference attendees.

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Topics: character education, National Forum

Engage families, communities in character-building

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Wed, Oct 6, 2010 @ 18:10 PM

The following post was written by Barbara Gruener, Westwood Elementary Counselor and Lynn Hobratschk, Westwood Elementary Principal. Gruener will be presenting at the 17th National Forum on Character Education.

In a town settled by Quakers, otherwise known as Friends, Principle 10 wasn’t too difficult to sell. A small bedroom community outside of Houston, Friendswood was founded with core values in mind. But knowing about character and putting character into action are two different things, so in 1987 a group of 120 concerned citizens gathered to decide which values would be important to focus on for the students and families in the Friendswood Independent School District. And so our character education initiative began.

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Topics: CEPLeaders, Character Education News, character education, National School of Character, National Forum, community of character, CEPForum10

RAGBRAI and Core Values

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Tue, Aug 3, 2010 @ 18:08 PM

Last week my brother and sister completed RAGBRAI—the bicycle ride across Iowa. From the starting point in Sioux City to the end point in Dubuque, they rode 480 miles over the course of the week. They both came home tired but euphoric. They’d had a wonderful time.
My sister couldn’t stop talking about how friendly everyone was. “Iowa has to be the most hospitable state ever,” she said. At every stop, people from all walks of life offered their homes to the bicyclists (and there were a lot of them. One count on the first day reported 20,000). The bikers camped out in their yards, slept in their basements, and shared their family rooms.

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Topics: Character Education News, character education, core values, National Forum, CEPForum10, Character Ed Infused in Curriculum, RAGBRAI