School Uses Character Education to Create a Caring School Climate

Apollo Beach Elementary School, Apollo Beach, Florida
 

Apollo Beach Elementary School (ABES) was named a 2013 National School of Character by whole child partner Charcter Education Partnership. Located in a small urban setting south of Tampa, ABES  is one of 146 elementary schools in Hillsborough County Florida–the 8th largest school district in the United States. The school does not have much ethnic diversity, but it has quite a disparity in the supplemental educational services among students, which presents a number of challenges when trying to unify students and parents to create a caring school climate. ABES embarked upon a character initiative in 2002 with only four trained faculty members. Since that time, the school's program has grown to include the entire faculty staff, students, parents, and community at large. Over 50 percent of the faculty serve on the character education committee, and many of these members have been individually trained in various components of character, which they frequently share with others. In recent years, as county demands on instructional time has increased, ABES has worked diligently to embed character education into every setting—academic and otherwise—to reinforce character building among our students and staff. Additonally, new steps have been taken to actively involve parents, PTA, and business partners to make a community connection. ABES was
 

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