Michael with St. Andrews students

Success Stories

CHARACTER COUNTS! provides a valuable framework for teaching character, social-emotional, and academic skills. Our lessons, activities, workshops, and resources give educators the tools they need to help students succeed and create a positive school climate that promotes respectful, positive, and supportive relationships.

Here’s what educators and community members from around the world are saying about their experiences with CHARACTER COUNTS!

Student behavior
"CHARACTER COUNTS! has helped significantly improve student behavior and conduct at our school.”
Jeff Banks
Lorraine Elementary School (NY)
Ease of Implementation
The most magical part of this program is the ease of implementation by the entire school staff. We are all able to use a simple shared language making the program seamless to use. Each Pillar is highlighted as we're focused on it – it is spoken about in morning announcements, and each staff member remembers to tie in any behaviors with said Pillar. It is wonderful to have a program where we can positively praise behavior based on a Pillar of character, to show how students can lead by example. Since this is such an "easy" program to teach, I believe this is why it's so easy to then implement and use year after year. We are a happy and proud school to be using CHARACTER COUNTS!
Rachel Chunglo
Albia Judd Elementary School (AZ)
Nurtures the social and emotional development needed for learning
“CHARACTER COUNTS! is important for students and teaches alike. CHARACTER COUNTS! helps students develop perseverance so they can pursue their goals despite their frustrations, mistakes, setbacks, and other obstacles that make learning and other difficult tasks seem impossible. It nurtures the social and emotional development needed for learning.”
Autumn Zasowski
Arthur O. Eve School of Distinction (NY)

Buffalo, NY

After 18 months using CHARACTER COUNTS!, Buffalo schools saw results:

  • 8.7% increase in high school graduation rates in CC! schools
  • 6.7% improvement in attendance rates in CC! schools
  • 5.8% increase in elementary math proficiency rates
  • 7.7% increase in elementary English proficiency rates
“The school climate at Hamlin Park has been transformed because of the BPSD/CITRS/CHARACTER COUNTS! initiative. We grew from a school on the verge of being shut down to a school in good standing; a school operating in fear to a school operating on positivity and hope; and a climate of compassion, caring, respect, and responsibility that is embraced school-wide by teachers, staff, students, and all who enter. Hamlin Park is now a school to be proud of, a school that is helping to embrace students of character! None of this would have been possible without the CC! program – thank you, CHARACTER COUNTS!”
Lauren Hackett
Lauren Hackett
Hamlin Park Academy (Buffalo, NY)
Meaningful, useseful, and fun
"Ogdensburg School has been focusing on the Six Pillars from CHARACTER COUNTS! for the past two years. We have done many activities to celebrate students and staff who embody the characteristics and built a community from preschool through eighth grade that uses the same terminology throughout the building. Considering all that our teachers are required to do on a daily basis, I was very focused on having opening day professional development that was meaningful and useful, but not overwhelming for my staff. I wanted something that would be lighthearted and FUN and Tabitha brought that and more to Ogdensburg School during our inservice. Staff communicated, collaborated, connected to one another and learned a lot, but most importantly we smiled and laughed together! This helped set the tone for a positive climate before we hit the ground running with all our students back in the classrooms! The inservice was very well received by all staff and I cannot thank Tabitha and Jason enough for all their guidance and help to ensure our character education program is the best it can be at Ogdensburg School.
Skye Egan
Skye Egan
Assistant Principal
Ogdensburg School (NJ)
Insightful materials
"I am a great fan of the CHARACTER COUNTS! online workshop and training programs. The insightful materials are professionally delivered and the concepts are easy to grasp and put into action. I found the two introductory sessions I attended motivating, engaging, and truly inspiring. Overall, they markedly exceeded my expectations. I highly recommend CHARACTER COUNTS! to educators looking to positively impact their school or youth organization by instilling strong values (and the habits to maintain them) into their students and faculty alike. My heartfelt thanks to the CHARACTER COUNTS! team at Drake University!”
Bill Bahr
Bill Bahr
Bloomingdale CC! Coalition (IL)
Highly engaging for kids
“CHARACTER COUNTS! works for our students because it provides consistency, yet it is a system that allows us to go deeper each year as students age. It offers a nice balance between having consistent expectations but allows for us to use materials for any situation. Students know the character Pillars within their first week of school in kindergarten. We continue to teach lessons, discuss, and demonstrate these character traits throughout their education while allowing for those discussions to become more complex as students develop. CHARACTER COUNTS! has thousands of practical and relevant lessons, discussion topics, videos, and other resources for educators to use. These resources are right at our fingertips and they are highly engaging for kids. CHARACTER COUNTS! isn’t just something we do on the side. It’s the center of everything we do!”
Character Counts
Trevor Urich
Broadway Elementary School

Downey, CA

Downey, California — Downey Unified School District released their 10-year character education findings showing a dramatic 25-year low in suspensions and high marks from both students and parents on the use of CHARACTER COUNTS! within their schools.

Year after year, it is believed that our CHARACTER COUNTS! has played an integral role in these results in addition to improving school safety, student morale, engagement, and high school graduation rates.

“Lewis Elementary School has recognized CHARACTER COUNTS! for many years. We create a full list of activities to promote the Six Pillars of Character with our team of teachers, students, and parents. Celebrating CC! Week has such a positive impact throughout our school and it is amazingly great for our school culture. Our students and staff have so much fun participating. We truly look forward to this week every year!”
Allison Box
Allison Box
Lewis Elementary (Downey, CA)
I was so impressed
“I was so impressed with engagement during this lesson. Each student got a whiteboard and wrote the emotion they were feeling. This was good for us because it gave them something to do with their hands and activated prior knowledge. We have done a TON with emotion identification in ourselves and others. I spent several weeks working through the process of empathy. When students got up to the board they told us about their emotions and their “because statement.” Example: “Today, I feel loved because my mom took me to my physical this morning, and that means I get to play basketball.” Each student had a real-life example of something on that day, that helped explain their emotion."
Character Counts
Bethany Short
Cardinal Middle School (IA)
An integral part of what we exemplify
"CHARACTER COUNTS! is such an integral part of what we exemplify here at North Pike Elementary. We were excited to offer this specific training to several of our new facility members, so they could become more immersed in our CHARACTER COUNTS! overall program. We are looking forward to sharing A Parent's Guide to Teaching Good Character at our winter Parent Night. Our faculty sees the difference we can make in a young child's life by sharing the values of CHARACTER COUNTS! on a daily basis with each and every student entrusted to our care. And thank you for allowing Allie Gardner to present this training. She truly has a heart for this program and how it can change a child's perspective on life by implementing  these positive values." 
Character Counts
Winona Dykes
North Pike Middle School (MS)

Tulare County, CA

When CHARACTER COUNTS! was introduced in the Tulare County Office of Education’s court schools program in 1994, no one could have predicted the impact it would have on Tulare County’s youth. The program was so successful with students on probation that then County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak committed his office to make the program available to school districts, service agencies, and other facets of the community.
To ensure the program reached all of the county’s 43 school districts, Superintendent Vidak hired a full-time coordinator for the program in 1996. CHARACTER COUNTS! is now the main source for character education in Tulare County. Over 4,000 teachers, parents, and community members have been trained in the program.
Tulare, CA Gazebo
Tulare, CA Mural
We are proud to have CHARACTER COUNTS! products in our school
“CHARACTER COUNTS! gives my school the opportunity to promote character traits that will help our students become the best version of themselves. As a National School of Character, we have decided to utilize CHARACTER COUNTS! because their products such as the street signs and the character education posters provide constant reminders for our students of the character traits that we are working diligently to instill in our students through incorporating character education into all that we do. We are proud to have CHARACTER COUNTS! products in our school. They are aesthetically pleasing and are a great physical reminder of the traits that we want our students to be intrinsically motivated to exhibit.”
Character Counts
Britney Maginn
School of Science and Technology (TX)
Great increase in our positive sportsmanship, a decrease in character issues
“We wanted to ensure our students had a competitive advantage on and off the field. We developed Jayhawk Foundations based on The ESSENTIALS modules. We have seen a great increase in our positive sportsmanship, a decrease in character issues in the classroom and on the field, and an overall emphasis on character development.”
Character Counts
Dr. Bill Watson
Martinesdale-St. Marys School District (IA)
Central to our Tier 1 Activities
“This program has been central to our Tier 1 activities and programming. Integrating the language into our building has helped students to recognize that their actions affect others and made them more accountable.” – Amber Nigro, South Park High School, Buffalo, NY
Character Counts
Amber Nigro
South Park High School (NY)
“CHARACTER COUNTS! is alive and well in Downey and will continue to be incorporated into what we do on a daily basis across the district and community. This helps us fulfill the Downey Unified vision that reads: All students graduate with a 21st Century education that ensures they are college and career-ready, globally competitive, and citizens of strong character.”
Character Counts
Dr. Robert Jagielski
Downey Unified School District (CA)
The more the kids can see these demonstrated as a school and as teachers, the more they can use them in their own lives
“When I plan my units I use the Goal Setting module. Here is where we are starting, here is where we need to end, and here are all the steps along the way to get us to that point. The more the kids can see these demonstrated as a school and as teachers, the more they can use them in their own lives.”
Character Counts
Emily Chyma
South Tama High School (IA)
“I have noticed a remarkable difference in the culture of our building since our implementation of CHARACTER COUNTS! at Harvey Austin 3 years ago. Character development and the Six Pillars of Character really have begun to shape everything we do. Not only is specific time built into our schedule every day to focus on character development, but it is integrated into every classroom and every hallway, all day, with the way we talk to each other, the way we treat each other, and the relationships that we build.”
Character Counts
Cassandra Gasbarrini
Harriet Ross Tubman School (NY)
Our Disciplinary Referrals Have Decreased
“The CHARACTER COUNTS! initiative has created a very positive environment at School #72. We are pleased with many aspects of the initiative. Our disciplinary referrals have decreased. Our students are happy. We have a common vocabulary that allows us, the staff, to have more productive conversations with our students. We are building stronger relationships with our students every day.”
Sarah Vittoria
Assistant Principal
Lorraine Academy School 72 (NY)
“Our school has been able to blend CHARACTER COUNTS! in with PBIS. We have created a universal behavior matrix that incorporates the Six Pillars, a reward system using Eagle Bucks, a restorative reflection room and we have even opened a school store. Our Eagle Bucks incorporates the Six Pillars to recognize students using good behavior throughout the school day. We have incorporated the CC! language into our school. Our students are becoming incredible citizens inside and outside of our school!”
Marielle Zych
Native American Magnet School (NY)
Fun and Active
“Thank you so much for sharing CHARACTER COUNTS! with us at North Pike Elementary School. We have implemented many of the strategies and techniques you shared and our students are responding in a very positive way. Our teachers also responded very positively to you and your presentation. What a fun and active way to help learn new things to develop our emerging citizens! Thank you again!”
Michelle Smith
North Pike Elementary School (MS)
From a degrading, feared environment to a place full of positivity, compassion, and kindness
“The CHARACTER COUNTS! program has turned our school from a degrading, feared environment to a place full of positivity, compassion, and kindness. Kids use words of kindness when talking to each other, solve differences using Pillar power terms, and overall are becoming kids of character.”
Lauren Golpl
Hamlin Park Academy (NY)
Part of the Life of Our School
“At CBSM, CHARACTER COUNTS! has become part of the life of our school. In addition, the whole community is part of it. With the system, we found a solid guide to help our students build their character. During the assemblies, we recognize and celebrate the community members that portrait the value of the month. All our kids look forward to the celebration because they know these recognitions are among the most important at our school. Thanks to CHARACTER COUNTS!, we can help our kids grow and build their life projects to become the good people our world so urgently needs”.
Adriana Ortiz Maldonado
Colegio Bilingüe Santa Marta (Santa Marta, Colombia)
Developing Values
CHARACTER COUNTS! at the Abraham Lincoln School in Bogotá, Colombia has certainly helped in improving our environment! Even though the Six Pillars have been part of our values since the foundation of school (more than 65 years ago), the CC! program has presented a path that makes our journey smoother. Students, parents, and staff are now more aware about actions that strengthen each one of the Pillars. What we value the most is bringing back to the academic field an incredible opportunity to develop values and human relations. CC! reminds us the importance on “stepping into someone else’s shoes.”
Luis Felipe Martinez Jimenez
Coordinator Ciclo V
Abraham Lincoln School (Bogota, Colombia)
Enhancing School Culture
The Six Pillars of Character helps our staff understand and appreciate their role in the formation of the whole child. For students, the Pillars help provide them with a common vocabulary of the values of the schools and help orient their behavior choices. The Pillars shape students' values and those values enhance the school culture. We appreciate the common vocabulary and understanding that CHARACTER COUNTS! gives us in the learning community. The CC! Framework gives teachers, students, parents, and administrators a way to talk to and discuss issues related to academics, social-emotional learning, and discipline."
Will Pulgarin
Middle School Principal
The Colombus School (Colombia)