CHARACTER COUNTS! Week Celebration


CHARACTER COUNTS! provides a meaningful, measurable, and sustainable framework to help your PK-12 school or organization focus on character skills and shape a positive culture.  

Character Plus Positive Culture

Students thrive when educators focus on:

    • creating a school community that values character and success skills,
    • developing a safe and supportive school culture, and 
    • providing inspirational leadership.

Student Outcomes

When students are surrounded by a positive learning community that teaches, enforces, advocates, and models moral, intellectual, and civic character skills, they can see improvements in academic outcomes and social-emotional, character, and leadership skills.

character counts outcomes

Learn More About Outcomes

Program Fundamentals

CHARACTER COUNTS! is centered around Six Pillars of Character (trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship).

By combining core values like the Six Pillars with our TEAM approach, research-based strategies, and best practices in character education, CHARACTER COUNTS! can prepare students for life, school, work, and beyond. 

How to Get Started

We’ve been working with educators for more than 30 years to create a pathway to success for your CHARACTER COUNTS! initiative. Once you’ve built a solid foundation, you can choose from a variety of opportunities to advance your initiative, including assessment, program extensions, and ongoing support. Plus, we can help you customize your program to achieve your short-term and long-term goals. 

Build a Foundation

Set your school up for success by building a strong foundation for your CHARACTER COUNTS! initiative, including educating your team on the fundamentals, creating a plan, and selecting resources to help you succeed.

    • Introduction to CHARACTER COUNTS! Workshops: We’ll cover why it’s important to identify school values (like the Six Pillars of Character), our TEAM approach to character education, and an introduction to our research-based instructional strategies. Learn more about our workshops.
    • Implementation Plan: There are key components to a successful CC! initiative. We’ll walk you through each step as you consider how to execute your plan.
    • Resources: Curricular and awareness resources can make character education more meaningful, easier, and fun! We have a variety of resources to meet your needs. Learn more. 

Assess Your Progress

Strong initiatives use data to guide decision-making. Plus, it helps celebrate your success!

    • CC! Implementation Survey: Assess each area of your implementation to find weak spots and areas of strength. The evaluation inspects planning, staff participation, integration, communication, and more.
    • Culture of Ethics and Excellence Assessment: Evaluate the components of your culture and climate with feedback from staff, students, and parents. This assessment collects data on student safety, students’ commitment to learning, staff commitment to goals, and more.
    • Learn more about our assessments here.

Extend Your Initiative

You can enrich your CC! framework by inviting other stakeholders to support your efforts.

    • Early Childhood: Include your youngest students in your efforts.
    • Family: Good character starts at home. We can help you involve your school’s families.
    • Pursuing Victory with Honor: Students’ character skills extend to their activities  – so should their character education. Our PVWH program helps you make the connection.
    • Community: Community members are invested in your students. Ask for their support.

Set Up Long-Term Success

The habits you create today can pay off for years to come. Create intentional practices to ensure that your work stands the test of time.
    • Refresher: Whether your team needs to learn about new best practices or new staff members need to learn the fundamentals, ongoing development is vital to sustainability.
    • Plan Ahead: As you create your implementation strategy, plan for the future. We’ll help you set long-term goals.


CC! is housed at The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. As a global initiative that transforms lives and strengthens communities, CHARACTER COUNTS! supports our mission to improve civility through character development and ethical leadership.

CC! was created by Michael Josephson and founded at the Joseph and Edna Josephson Institute of Ethics.

CHARACTER COUNTS! at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School (Arlington, TX)