Character Defines the School’s Approach to Learning and to Life
Walnut Street School, Uniondale, N.Y.
Walnut Street School, with a diverse student population that is 42 percent African-American and 48 percent Hispanic, initiated a character education program six years ago in response to escalating gang violence. The initiative accomplished much more: It now defines the school’s approach to learning and to life. This school has narrowed, and in some cases reversed, the achievement gap. Character education is now an integral part of the schoolwide plan. Quarterly assemblies reinforce character lessons. The school ties character education to sports activities. The G.R.E.A.T. (Gang Resistance Education and Training) program teaches about bullying prevention and learning not to be a bystander. Walnut Street uses multiple strategies to reach every student. Parental support is strong; the school was named a PTA School of Excellence.