CHARACTER COUNTS! focuses on building students’ character skills and shaping a positive school culture. It can be implemented as a standalone initiative or with other initiatives such as PBIS.
Our flexible framework is based on:
The Six Pillars of Character
Our T.E.A.M. approach to character education includes Teaching, Enforcing, Advocating, and Modeling good character.
Practical, research-based instructional and implementation strategies
Administrators, educators, and families want safe, supportive, high-performing schools. By prioritizing character development and positive school culture, schools can see improvement in students’ character, social-emotional, and academic skills, and ensure their school is a safe and welcoming learning environment.
CHARACTER COUNTS! helps students develop the Six Pillars of Character:
Have integrity, be honest, keep promises, and be loyal to values
Show acceptance and respect for others
Be accountable for actions, show perseverance and self-discipline
Be open-minded and demonstrate good sportsmanship
Show compassion, gratitude, and forgiveness
Dedication to making choices that protect the safety and rights of others.
When students develop character skills, they’ll be more likely to achieve their personal, school, and career goals and become engaged, responsible, and productive citizens. You’ll notice more:
Learn more about the Six Pillars of Character.
CHARACTER COUNTS! helps students develop key social-emotional skills:
Identify and understand emotions, values, attitudes, motivations, mindsets, and personal attributes
Regulate emotions, attitudes, and actions, and resist negative emotions and impulses
Create positive relationships and meaningful connections with family members, classmates, and teachers
Make decisions based on rationality, ethics, and effectiveness
Assess the feelings of others and be sensitive to the feelings and needs of others
When students develop social-emotional skills, they’ll be more likely to develop positive, healthy relationships, manage their emotions, and make good choices. You’ll notice more:
CHARACTER COUNTS! helps students develop skills to be more successful in academics.
Critical and Creative Thinking
Acquire, remember, understand, and apply knowledge
Curiosity and Passion
Enthusiastic to understand more about themselves, others, and the world around them
Make rational, ethical, and effective decisions to find the best solutions to problems
Self-Direction and Engagement
Fully engaged in the educational process and connected to the school community
Have a growth mindset and is willing to learn from mistakes
When students develop these skills, they can reach their intellectual and academic potential. You’ll notice:
CHARACTER COUNTS! helps create a school culture where students, administration, faculty, and staff are:
Committed to Excellence
Value collaboration and feedback in order to grow and improve
Supportive and Respectful
Treat each other with respect, every student is connected to a caring, responsible adult in the school, and staff feel supported by the administration
Contribute to making the school a safe place to learn; a proactive, instructive, and restorative approach to student behavior.
Dedicated to Stakeholders
Commitment to ensuring students’ mastery of academic content and character development.
Accepting and Encouraging
Ownership of creating a positive, welcoming learning environment where everyone can feel accepted and part of the school community
Appreciate and trust other school community members and dedicated to making the school better
When schools focus on character development and educators teach, enforce, advocate, and model school values, you’ll notice:
We’ve been working with educators for more than 30 years to create a pathway to success for your CHARACTER COUNTS! initiative, and it starts with building a solid foundation. Once you’ve created a foundation, you can choose from a variety of opportunities to advance your initiative, including assessment, program extensions, and ongoing support.
With the CHARACTER COUNTS! framework as a guide, we provide practical, research-based strategies, curricular resources, and professional development training.
We’ll also provide best practices on incorporating CHARACTER COUNTS! into your existing character development or SEL program.
Our team can help evaluate your needs and select services to meet your goals through:
Learn more about how each of these elements can put you on the pathway to a successful CHARACTER COUNTS! initiative.
Michael Josephson founded The Josephson Institute in 1987 in honor of his parents, Joseph and Edna, and focused on youth, sportsmanship, business, public service, and policing.
CHARACTER COUNTS! was created by the Josephson Institute in 1992 with the input of 17 nationally prominent youth-serving and educational organizations.
The program initially focused exclusively on the development of core ethical traits – trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship (the Six Pillars of Character). CHARACTER COUNTS has continually evolved to reflect current research and best practices to become a comprehensive student development program embracing academic, social and emotional skills and the Six Pillars of Character.
Upon Michael’s retirement in 2019, The Ray Center at Drake University became home to CHARACTER COUNTS!, Pursuing Victory with Honor, and the Josephson Exemplary Policing Initiative.
CHARACTER COUNTS! is a project of The Ray Center at Drake University.
Through public awareness and programming grounded in research, The Ray Center helps create strong, vibrant communities that value positive, healthy relationships and respectful behavior. Our initiatives benefit people of all ages and are easily adaptable for families, schools, workplaces, athletic teams, and more.
We help our clients shape their organization’s culture through professional development, assessments, resources, and on-going consultation that focuses on values-based education and best practices in character development.
As the global home to CHARACTER COUNTS!, our instruction is inspired by the Six Pillars of Character – trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.
Don’t wait another day to start changing your school culture!
We’d love to provide a free consultation to discuss how we can help you reach your goals.