School Models Character Despite Challenges

Bayless Elementary School, St. Louis, Mo.

Bayless School District is located on the south side of St. Louis and is designated as one of the most diverse school districts per capita in the state of Missouri, with over 17 languages spoken at home. Named a 2011 National School of Character by whole child partner the Character Education Partnership, Bayless Elementary School has 43 percent minority students and more than 60 percent of the student body receives free or reduced-price lunch. Dr. Maureen Clancy-May, the district superintendent, says that despite these challenges, "Bayless staff is creative in finding funds. They turn challenges into opportunities." Clancy-May also describes the Bayless environment as one of total integration of the core values. She says that when you walk through the doors you can "feel it, see it, and taste it." Both staff and students model character with each other. When speaking with Dr. Gina Siebe, the principal of Bayless Elementary, or with parents or members of its character education committee, one is struck by their deep commitment to the development of students of character.

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