Congratulations to the 2012 National Schools of Character!

Every year, the Character Education Partnership — a national advocacy organization with which CHARACTER COUNTS! and many other character-promoting organizations are affiliated — names elementary, middle, and high schools as Schools of Character. All of these schools go through a vigorous self-assessment process as well as evaluation by an outside evaluator.

The CEP recently announced the schools that have won the designation this year. In addition to honoring schools, the CEP also recognizes “promising practices,” specific projects or approaches used by individual schools that merit attention from and possible replication by other schools that want to increase the effectiveness and impact of their character education programs.

Three of these are CHARACTER COUNTS! schools — they use the Six Pillars of Character and the CC! framework in their character education programs. They are:

  • North Boulevard School, Pompton Plains, New Jersey
    “Promising Practices”:
    School Ambassadors Serving the School and Community
    Positive school culture is enhanced when students select projects that promote volunteerism and social awareness of the needs that face both the school and community.
    The Peacemaker’s Bridge
    As part of a comprehensive conflict resolution and peer mediation program, students in North Boulevard School’s first through third grades are encouraged to take their own leadership role as Class Peacemakers.

We encourage all CC! schools to consider applying for National School of Character status. The self-assessment process is beneficial for reflecting on your current practices and for determining what areas can be strengthened. The deadline for the next cycle is December 1.

Schools are evaluated on the CEP’s “Eleven Principles.” You can find more details about the application process here.

The Eleven Principles:

  1. The school community promotes core ethical and performance values as the foundation of good character.
  2. The school defines “character” comprehensively to include thinking, feeling, and doing.
  3. The school uses a comprehensive, intentional, and proactive approach to character development.
  4. The school creates a caring community.
  5. The school provides students with opportunities for moral action.
  6. The school offers a meaningful and challenging academic curriculum that respects all learners, develops their character, and helps them to succeed.
  7. The school fosters students’ self-motivation.
  8. The school staff is an ethical learning community that shares responsibility for character education and adheres to the same core values that guide the students.
  9. The school fosters shared leadership and long-range support of the character education initiative
  10. The school engages families and community members as partners in the character-building effort.
  11. The school regularly assesses its culture and climate, the functioning of its staff as character educators, and the extent to which its students manifest good character.