Countdown to #Character2014

As we draw closer to the Character Education Partnership’s annual conference (Oct. 30 – Nov. 2 in Washington, D.C.), we’ve been featuring guest posts from educators who represent a CEP-designated National School of Character. In today’s post, we hear from CEP’s leadership about the focus of this year’s conference.

Learn more about the CEP conference and save your spot here.

By Becky Sipos and Sheril Morgan

Character Education Partnership’s 21st National Forum on Character Education is approaching, and we can’t wait to welcome you to Washington D.C. This year’s theme for the Forum is “Beyond Accountability, Inspiring Greatness” because so many teachers feel frustrated by the overwhelming emphasis on testing and its negative impact on the joy of teaching. We know that character education can transform not only the students in a school, but also the culture and climate that educators need to inspire their teaching.

Year after year at the Forum we see so many educators get inspired by connecting with each other. The stories, expertise and experiences they share help motivate and guide each other on the path to transforming their campuses into Schools of Character. At the Forum, educators get recharged, re­inspired and recommitted to the joy of teaching and to touching the lives of our students daily in ways that go far beyond the reach of any state test.

There are so many exciting things to share about this year’s Forum. For example, this year we’ll debut our 11 Principles on Effective Character Education discussion room. Throughout the conference, Schools of Character educators, who have particular expertise in a specific topic or challenging Principle, will share their experiences and lead discussions. These educators from Schools of Character are committed to helping other schools experience the transformation of becoming a School of Character. These educators believe, as we do at CEP, that every school can be a School of Character.

On Friday night, our welcome reception includes our popular Promising Practices poster session. Schools from all over the nation will share practices that are proven to make a difference in the lives of students and teachers. Award-­winning Promising Practices and Schools of Character ideas will be on display and you can take home a ton of ideas to implement immediately.

If you are new to your character education journey, you may want to attend Amy Johnson’s “11 Principles 101.” Amy is a former National School of Character principal and a powerful presenter. Also, on Sunday, November 2, she will offer in-­depth training on the 11 Principles in our post-conference workshop. In this training, schools will learn the nuts and bolts of building a culture of character that meets the unique needs of their school. No two Schools of Character are alike, and in this training you can begin an action plan for your school’s improvement process.

You will see many other opportunities to network and learn if you download our mobile app and start planning for the conference now. Four great keynotes, 65 breakout sessions, and more. From the Holocaust Museum or Library of Congress workshop to our Monuments at Moonlight tours, we have many activities for you to enjoy at this year’s Forum. Come join us to learn and have fun — and go home ­inspired in your calling as an educator.

Becky Sipos is CEP’s President and CEO. Sheril Morgan is CEP’s Director of Schools of Character.