Peters Township School District | 2010 National District of Character | When most districts set out to adopt character education, their usual goal is to foster a change in school culture. But Peters Township School District (PTSD) in picturesque southwestern Pennsylvania had more ambitious hopes. The first steps were taken in 1999 and their homegrown program, which was the result of the township and the school district joining hands in a common long-range plan, still thrives today.
Sappington Elementary School | 2008 National School of Character | Kaye Rueschhoff, former Character Education Team coordinator, notes that “school culture has changed. Our approach to character education has evolved from a teacher-led focus to one that relies on student input.” Rueschhoff can give multiple examples of student leadership, such as students in the upper grades overseeing the daily school broadcast.
Kehrs Mill Elementary School | 2010 National School of Character | No mindless drill here; student engagement is a priority. Kehrs Mill students pursue learning with gusto and show a deep commitment to others. Whether it is second graders involved in a brainstorming session on ways to save the rain forest, or first and fourth-grade buddies strategizing to help animals rescued by the Humane Society, critical thinking and collaborative problem solving join to strengthen the curriculum.
Long Elementary School | 2009 National School of Character | "It is important to realize that character education is not something to be added to an already crowded curriculum. Character education is not a program but a way of operating." -Brian McKenney, Principal
Walnut Street School | 2011 National School of Character | "Visiting and observing a school that has an established character education program provides newcomers with information and a model of how a school can improve their climate through planned character education initiatives." -Linda Friedman, principal
Sentinel Career Center | 2010 National School of Character | Sentinel, a career and technical center that offers 16 different career programs to students drawn from 13 school districts, began its character education journey in 1999 upon the revelation by local employers that they needed workers with “soft skills” in addition to technical competence. Since students are only there for half the day, their character lessons had to sustain them in their home schools and in the workplace.
Greenfield Elementary School | 2009 National School of Character | "Follow and trust the CEP process. The defining moments of our growth centered on our self-assessment and our embracing the 11 Principles. I would highly recommend that any school that truly wants to implement a comprehensive character education program adhere to the 11 Principles. This will guide a staff more significantly than any packaged program and will result in more effective changes." -Donald E. Tobe, Principal
Francis Howell Middle School | 2008 National School of Character | Parent Laurie Holder, the mother of a seventh-grader, says, "Character education has a ripple effect. It leads to high-caliber education because of the nurturing the students receive." Rise DeCrescenzo, the parent of an eighth-grader agrees: "Grades aren't as important as nurturing. Grades fall into place because the children learn in a caring environment and feel safe."
Upper Merion Area Middle School | 2010 National School of Character | "We will continue to increase community involvement and partnerships, strive to grow all components of Community of Caring, and work to attain excellence in character, scholarship, leadership, and service." -John Adiletto, Principal
Fox C-6 School District | 2009 National District of Character | Kristen Pelster, principal of Ridgewood Middle School (a 2006 NSOC) and a leader on the District Character Education Team, says that all schools have their own character committees which help them to address individual school concerns, but there is a great deal of sharing. “The walls have come down between buildings,” says Pelster.
Pierce Elementary School | 2011 National School of Character | "Character education needs to be integrated into all aspects of the school day. It should be addressed in technology, curriculum, lunch, recess, specials, on the bus...” -James Lalik, principal
Geggie Elementary School | 2011 National School of Character | "Build on what already exists, take small steps toward their vision, celebrate successes, and believe in the power of Character Education as a vehicle to transformation and excellence!" -Mary Kleekamp, principal
George Guffey Elementary School | 2011 National School of Character | "Being named an NSOC has been the most outstanding award for our students, staff, and community to receive. Character education has changed the climate in our building, increased our academic scores, and is helping shape the future of our students." -Jackie Waller, principal