Student Development Framework:
The Four Wheels of Success

 The CHARACTER COUNTS! 5.0 Student Development framework is a dynamic, continually evolving educational strategy drawn from the research supporting and the evidence-based strategies advocated by each of these approaches to education:

CHARACTER COUNTS! 5.0, launched in July 2015, is an entirely revised comprehensive youth development initiative designed to instill and enhance academic, social, emotional and values, mindsets and character traits to help each student:

  • Reach their academic potential and have the ability to succeed in school (including college or other post-secondary school education).
  • Succeed in the workplace and their careers.
  • Live happy, worthy and fulfilling personal lives.
  • Become engaged, responsible and productive citizens.

CHARACTER COUNTS! 5.0 incorporates the newest research-based state of the art strategies for positive climate change and introduces new tools and techniques (including 100s of posters) designed to infuse The Six Pillars of Character and 21st century school and career success skills and traits into the DNA of your school or organization.

CHARACTER COUNTS! 5.0 is an overarching framework designed to work in conjunction with rather than supplant other academic support, pro school climate and anti-bullying programs as well as  behavior modification programs including PBIS. Properly implemented, CHARACTER COUNTS! is braided with other programs to produce meaningful, measurable and sustainable outcomes in four domains:

To assure accountability, CHARACTER COUNTS! administers pre and post school climate, beliefs and behavior surveys. In addition, to engage all segments of the school community and win their support —CHARACTER COUNTS! administers surveys to parents, teachers, administrators and staff to determine their concerns and priorities leading to the formation of school-specific objectives.

Additional 5.0 Program Information

CHARACTER COUNTS! 5.0 is a project of the Los Angeles-based Joseph & Edna Josephson Institute of Ethics, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1987. It is the most widely implemented approach to student development reaching millions of youth every year since since 1993. CHARACTER COUNTS! is:

Properly implemented, CHARACTER COUNTS! becomes infused seamlessly into the DNA of your school or organizational climate. Implementation can occur at your own pace and can range in complexity based upon your needs and goals.



  • Pre-program assessment of priorities and concerns – parents, teachers and administrators
  • Benchmark survey of school climate and student attitudes and behaviors (first month) – students, parents, administrators and teachers
  • Progress Survey to determine impact  (last month) – students, parents, administrators and teachers



  • Internal or external assigned mentor to each school



  • Music and DVD resources
  • Reflections Today counts
  • Activity Books
  • Wallet cards
  • Website
  • You Tube videos


  • Banners
  • Hallway and classroom posters
  • Performance charts
  • Stickers and ribbons
  • Pens, pencils and pins, key chain
  • Wristbands


Certificated Training

3-day certification training based on the Model Standards for Academic, Social, Emotional and Character Development. Include principal/or vice principal, teachers, counselor, parent representative.

Faculty & Administrators Survey

Online survey to determine core values, concerns and priorities and opinions on the current culture of school,  level of parent engagement, and student performance.

Parent Survey

Online or take-home survey to determine core values, concerns and priorities and opinions on the current culture of school, level of parent engagement, and student performance.

Common Area Inspirational Kit

Banners, large posters and street signs displayed on marquee, main entrance, hallways, cafeteria area, auditorium, gym, sports fields, etc.. Post student work and recognitions and quotations, banners, posters, murals, bulletin board displays selected or made by students.

Classroom Integration Kit

Posters, morning announcements/invocations, quotations, scenarios and other discussion/thought stimulants for public announcement or guided discussion in home-room, advisory or first period.

School-wide Contests

Essays, videos, poster, songs, skits, etc. designed to teach and reinforce the core principles.

Student School Improvement Projects

Annual project for each grade level to promote teamwork, initiative, connection to school, culture of respect and self-reliance.

Integrate into Classroom Instruction

Champions help teachers integrate CHARACTER COUNTS! objectives into teaching lessons.

Integrate into Co-curricular Activities

Sports coaches, faculty advisers and directors of student gov’t, leadership and co-curricular activities integrate principles and values.

Professional Development Workshops

Half and full-day PD workshops (e.g., Classroom Management, Building a Culture of Kindness (Bullying prevention), Integrating CHARACTER COUNTS! Objectives into Common Core Goals.


Awards ceremonies, parades, student performances, etc. celebrating National CHARACTER COUNTS! Week (declared by Congress – third week in October).

End of Year Surveys

Year-end surveys of parents, students, teachers and administrators to assess impact and provide the basis for the next year’s strategic plan.