What's Happening in Character Education?

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

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

Are you a Teacher Leader?

Posted by Rebecca Bauer on Wed, Aug 5, 2015 @ 09:08 AM

Teacher leadership has become a buzzword recently. All teachers lead activities and lessons in their classrooms. Many teachers also lead after school activities and clubs. Some teachers even serve as administrators, too. These days it’s more normal for teachers to have multiple roles in a school than just one.

So what exactly does teacher leadership mean, and more importantly, why should you care?

The NEA defines teacher leadership using 7 domains. This Character Resource Roundup focuses on three of those domains:

  • “Fostering a collaborative culture to support educator development and student learning”

  • “Promoting professional learning for continuous improvement”

  • “Advocating for student learning and the profession”

Fostering a Collaborative Culture

Often the topic of fostering a collaborative culture, especially when it comes to staff culture, is a discussion that is left for the principals and administrative teams. Teacher leaders can and should play an essential role in these efforts. Ask yourself what you are doing to foster a collaborative culture.

  • How do you welcome new staff?

  • How do you support your coworkers?

  • How do you collaborate amongst your grade level team and professional learning communities?

Read The Power of Teacher Networks, a book in which author, Ellen Meyers, “describes teacher networks as a force that breaks teachers out of isolation, improves their practice, advocates for students and schools, and keeps our best teachers teaching.”

Looking for something a little shorter? For a quick introduction read “Fostering Leadership Through Teacher Networks” by Sarah Burns. By strengthening your “Teacher Network” you will improve your teaching practice and hopefully make some new friends too!

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Topics: Advocacy, Character Resource Roundup, Teacher Leadership, Shared Leadership