CHARACTER COUNTS! Spotlight: Saint Andrew’s School
Why did Saint Andrew’s choose CHARACTER COUNTS? What is the vision you have for the program at St. Andrews?
We chose the CHARACTER COUNTS! program because during that time in 2009, the school principal was aware of and interested in the program. After reviewing it, she traveled to the United States to be trained on CHARACTER COUNTS! We then hired a consultant to do an internal study and help us design the strategy for implementing the CHARACTER COUNTS! program in our school.
We decided to work on values at the school and centered them around CHARACTER COUNTS! We committed to a long-term vision, capable of prevailing over time and in spite of the people and positions that are working at St. Andrews. We wanted it to become part of the school’s DNA, linking every learning space and every activity. We understand that every year we must make adjustments, improvements and adaptations as we take into account the dynamics in which families and children develop. Our vision is to continue to grow by educating our students on character and values, but also improve our impact on teachers, families, and organizational climate.
Some of the CHARACTER COUNTS! and The Ray Center team came to Bolivia for in-person training at the beginning of 2020. How was it to have them come visit and meet your educators? What kind of feedback did your staff have?
Receiving them here in Bolivia was a great joy! Gary Smit and Scott Raecker knew how to inspire us in the lessons of the program. Each of their lessons has re-energized the Saint Andrew’s teams and the vision of the school. The teachers were very happy to have on-site training with the CHARACTER COUNTS! team. They conveyed to us the importance and relevance of teaching values in all areas. Our educators feel connected to the Six Pillars not only for their daily work but also for their personal lives. It was a high quality training.
What is your “why” at Saint Andrew’s? Why do you and your staff place a high value on teaching good character as part of your curriculum?
Before implementing CHARACTER COUNTS!, we conducted a study based on focus groups and surveys where we investigated the concerns and perceptions of different groups that are part of the Saint Andrew’s school community. We found that both parents and teachers raised an urgent need to educate children and young people in the same speech. A unified discourse according to values and expectations, supported by the Six Pillars of Character, could help us promote a healthy and positive school experience capable of transforming the future of our students. The students acknowledged that they wanted a stable environment that could help them navigate their educational career as well as new life scenarios.
When we reviewed the bases of the CHARACTER COUNTS! program, we saw the need to adapt to our reality, the internal dynamics of our school, and the reality of Latin American countries. We have now added more topics to our curriculum based on strengthening self-esteem, coexistence, addressing bullying, interculturality, developing moral personality, self-discipline, empathy, proactivity, leadership and service. These topics are integrated into the classroom where they are exercised and reflected upon. We also have take-home tasks that allow parents to discuss with their children and determine the appropriate ethical frame of action. Thanks to CHARACTER COUNTS! we have developed a general foundation for action.
What is our “why?” Saint Andrew’s wants to train our students to:
- be people of integrity who are capable of making decisions on an ethical basis
- project themselves towards living a healthy and positive personal and social life
- be capable of transforming the world
We have had great results with CHARACTER COUNTS! and have found that in all these years our students love the program. It helps them learn life lessons, make good decisions and connect with their teachers.