CHARACTER COUNTS! Spotlight: Downey Unified School District
Downey Unified School District (DUSD) serves over 22,000 elementary, middle school and high school students in Downey, California. After over a decade of implementing a CHARACTER COUNTS! district-wide program, Downey Unified was designated as a national CHARACTER COUNTS! Exemplary School District in January 2020.
Downey Unified is committed to continued integration of the CHARACTER COUNTS! framework that includes significant faculty/staff training, student leadership engagement, parent connectivity, utilization of classroom resources, special projects and community engagement. Additionally, Downey Unified will continue to provide Pursuing Victory With Honor professional development to all coaches as a tool to impart strategies to help implement character development into their work with student athletes.
The emphasis on character education has resulted in a significant decrease in discipline cases at Downey Unified as well as contributed to outstanding graduation rates.
Downey Unified boasts a 96% graduation rate, which is 8% higher than the state average, 10% higher than the county average, and higher than the 12 surrounding districts. Their district-wide CHARACTER COUNTS! initiative has expanded to a city-wide Coalition including the City of Downey, local sports leagues, the YMCA, local businesses, and other stakeholders. The city-wide Coalition earned Downey Unified the Cities, Schools, and Counties Association (CSBA) Golden Bell Award.