Tagged “Character Education”

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Culture of Respect Brings Arkansas School to the Top

Crossett Middle School, Crossett, Ark.

As one of whole child partner National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform’s 2013 Diamond Schools to Watch, Crossett Middle School—located in Crossett, Arkansas—is a model for middle-level education. The criteria for this commendation fall into three main categories: academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, and social equity. Principal Lou Gregorio cites the positive and respectful culture of the school (PDF) as the main factor in student, As one of the 2013 Diamond Schools to Watch, Crossett Middle School is a model for middle-level education and school culture.parent, and educator satisfaction.

Caring and Belief Are Key at this New Jersey Middle School

John A. Carusi Middle School, Cherry Hill, N.J.
 

Carusi students tell visitors they feel even more cared about at Carusi than they did at their elementary schools. Science teacher Angela Warrington notes, “We at Carusi are so committed to our students’ success. We all believe we can make a difference.” The hallways and classrooms are covered with student artwork, posters, and documents that publicize the school motto: Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve. The motto, however, is much more than words on a wall or poster. It embodies a school that infuses character and academics into every class, every interaction, every day. Character education informs every decision at the school, including curriculum design, student–teacher relationships, and approaches to discipline.
 

An Individualized Education Rich in Academics

St. Louis Charter School, St. Louis, M.O.
 

Comprehensive character education has been a part of St. Louis Charter School’s mission since its inception 11 years ago: “To provide children with an individualized education rich in academics and character.” All classrooms emphasize core values. According to school board member Lynn Yearwood, the values are so embedded in the school that “[t]hey are even woven into board meetings.” St. Louis Charter staff work hard to create community among their students—who come from different parts of the city and from different backgrounds—and to celebrate their differences. Student work and art are everywhere, even on attractively painted ceiling tiles. Staff members monitor data closely and plan program changes in response. The school also uses its data to help individual students improve. St. Louis Charter does an outstanding job of providing professional development opportunities for the entire staff to help them meet the needs of their students.
 

A High-Mobility Middle School in Missouri brings sudents together

Fox Middle School, Arnold, M.O.

 

The staff at Fox Middle School has become character education leaders frequently called upon to share best practices with other educators. Service learning is seen as a tool to help students learn important skills—and learn to appreciate what they have. As a school with only two grades and a high mobility rate (15 percent), Fox works hard to ease the transition for all new students. Both parents and students write letters to their teachers before the year begins to let them know about their learning needs and interests. In order to meet the dual challenges of having many students whose families are financially stressed and being faced with shrinking school budgets, Fox teachers “go above and beyond,” according to principal Aaron Wilken. “They do anything to make the kids successful. They make do with what we have. Staff members are willing to take risks and [exercise] responsibility.”
 

School Prepares Students to be Good Leaders and Future Citizens

Russell Middle School, Colorado Springs, C.O.
 

The community of Russell Middle School sought to be the change they desired to achieve; to “live out loud” by a set of principles worthy to be carried forward to the next generation. They wanted to know that their students were prepared, not only to be good citizens in the future, but also to grow into leaders today. Since its beginning, the integration of the character education program has been an integral component of the universal school improvement process.
 

School adopts New Character Education Program

Mountianville Academy, Alpine, U.T.
 

Over the summer of 2009, after discussions with key stakeholders, Mountainville Academy (MA) administrators decided to adopt “Leader in Me” as our character education program after seeing it at another National School of Character. Before school began, the program was introduced to teachers, parents, and staff members during a week-long training. To facilitate implementation schoolwide, the school created a team called the Lighthouse team. In October 2009, the program was introduced to the students. In the spring of 2010, parent representatives were invited to join our Lighthouse team. Our Lighthouse team directs our character education and school climate.
 

Bulldog B’s: Be respectful; Be responsible; Be prepared; and Be a Student of Character

Southern Middle School, Sinking Spring, P.A.

Southern Middle School students and teachers started the 2011–12 school year dedicated to making character an integral part of each day. Teachers, parents, and students collaborated to incorporate the district’s seven core values into the four “Bulldog B’s.” These expectations, displayed throughout the building, state: Be respectful; Be responsible; Be prepared; and Be a student of character. Exposure to the “Bulldog B’s” occurs in writing prompts, readings, cooperative activities, and advisory lessons. WSMS believes students who demonstrate good character will have a positive influence in the community.
 

Service-Learning improves School and Community

Brentwood Middle School, Brentwood, M.O.

 

Educators at Brentwood Middle School, a school that consistently makes AYP and has parent involvement and no major behavioral concerns, decided to perform a complete overhaul of its culture and daily activities. Why? They did not want to become stagnant or settle for good; they want to strive for excellence. Teachers infuse character into lessons. Students create service learning projects to improve the school and community. Parents and community members flock to volunteer their services. BMS has become more than good; it is an excellent place to learn and grow. Excellence in all we do and say, that is the Brentwood way!
 

Charter School Promotes Parents as Primary Educators

Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School, Franklin, Mass.

Established in 1995 as one of the first charter schools in Massachusetts, Benjamin Frankilin Classical Charter Public School (BFCCPS) also has the distinction of being among the first schools in the country to be named National Schools of Character, in 1998. Named a National School of Character again in 2011 by whole child partner the Character Education Partnership, the mission of BFCCPS is to assist parents in their role as primary educators of their children by providing students with a classical academic education coupled with sound character development and community service.

One of the key strengths of BFCCPS is its determination to maintain its original unique and focused vision to integrate virtues not only into its mission but into what takes place there every day—and its history of success in doing so. In addition to providing an education based on the cardinal virtues of the ancient Greeks, BFCCPS uses a teaching strategy borrowed from an American founder, Benjamin Franklin, to set weekly character goals which enable staff and students to focus on these virtues in both academics and personal interactions, in order to help develop virtuous habits. Also, the school incorporates current research based strategies taken from Responsive Classroom, such as class meetings and service opportunities, to facilitate reflection on the character goals and practice in achieving them.

Family Atmosphere Fosters Sense of Belonging

Imagine Schools South Lake, Clermont, Fla.

Despite being one of the largest of the more than 70 Imagine Schools campuses, Imagine South Lake feels like a "family" school. Each day, students are greeted by the principal (who knows everyone by name), other administrators, teachers, parents, and student safety patrols. Teacher turnover is minimal, and the re-enrollment rate is above 95 percent. When speaking of her schoolmates and teachers, fourth grader India says, "They are my family." Named a 2011 National School of Character by whole child partner the Character Education Partnership, Imagine South Lake's staff students, and parents live the core values. Staff members incorporate character within the classroom in ways that best meet the needs of their students and reflect the school's mission statement. Middle school language-arts teacher Joyce Crawford notes that "being here at Imagine means you have a voice;" all classrooms have meetings where students' "voice and choice" is heard and appreciated. Teachers care about the students academically, socially, and emotionally. Fourth grader Eliya states that the teachers "don’t want us to fail. They teach us how to learn from our mistakes."

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