Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Hanover Park Regional High School District has been named a 2013 National District of Character by the Character Education Partnership, as well as a 2013 NJ State District of Character by the The New Jersey Alliance for Social and Emotional Character Development.
What is Character Education?
"Character education is the deliberate effort to help young people understand, care about, and act upon core ethical values... we want [students] to be able to judge what is right, care deeply about what is right, and then do what they believe to be right—even in the face of pressure from without and temptation from within" - Dr. Thomas Lickona
As teachers we perform character education on a daily basis—in the behavior we model, the conduct we tolerate, the deeds we encourage, and expectations we set forth. We do character education by default, the intention now is to do it by design, collaborating and incorporating strategies that can be used consistently throughout the school community. It's important to understand that Character Education is not an all-or-nothing enterprise. Meaningful character building experiences can be integrated and implemented in a variety of small, yet significant ways.
One of the main by-products of character education is the improvement of the overall school climate. It helps make the school a positive place to be, and as a result students are more motivated and able do their best. Research shows that character education is positively correlated with academic achievement.
"In schools of character, adults embrace their critical role as models. Teachers work together as professionals—and with parents and community members as partners—to positively shape the social, emotional, and character development of the young people entrusted to them each day. As a result, students in these schools feel safe, respected, and connected to those around them, allowing them to thrive academically and socially and be motivated to give back to their communities." (excerpt from the Character Education Partnership website)
Character Education and Service Learning - How to implement them
Character Education Resources
The Character Education Partnership (CEP) website is a leading resource for information related to character education...
CEP's Promising Practice winners contains cited examples of effective character education strategies that have been implemented by Schools of Character.
CEP also offers a page of lesson plans submitted by National Schools of Character that link character education to school core values and curriculum.
Character Education Websites (with excerpt descriptions)
New Jersey Alliance for Social Emotional and Character Development (NJASECD)
The New Jersey Alliance for Social, Emotional and Character Development is the state sponsor of the New Jersey Schools of Character Program. New Jersey Schools of Character are selected by NJASECD for having reached a standard of excellence within in the area of character development. The applications of schools recognized as NJSOCs are forwarded to the Character Education Partnership for consideration at the national level.
National School Climate Center (NSCC)
The goal of SCSS is to promote positive and sustained school climate: a safe, supportive environment that nurtures social and emotional, ethical, and academic skills. We are an organization that helps schools integrate crucial social and emotional learning with academic instruction. In doing so, we enhance student performance, prevent drop outs, reduce physical violence, bullying, and develop healthy and positively engaged adults.
If you work with kids, and you need to implement character education tomorrow, and you want some immediate help, this is where to start. But if your character education program is cruising, and you just want some additional ideas and materials, this is also where to start.
"Ethical Reasoning and the Art of Classroom Dialogue" by David Elkind and Freddy Sweet, Ph.D.
"The Socratic Approach to Character Education" by David Elkind and Freddy Sweet, Ph.D.
"How to Do Character Education" by David Elkind and Freddy Sweet, Ph.D.