Character.org, the nonprofit organization which validates character initiatives in schools and communities around the world has designated 73 schools and 5 districts from 17 states as 2018 National Schools and Districts of Character.
Beloit High School has been honored as a National School of Character. They have a tradition of success and excellence in the classroom, in athletic arenas, and within the community of Beloit. Over the past 5 years, because of a strong desire to have students who are well-rounded and high achievers in all aspects of their lives, the administration and staff have actively pursued the implementation of a comprehensive character education program.
Faculty and staff have received training, speakers have been brought in to reinforce the core values, and character education has been integrated systemically in every aspect of the school. The shift has led to a relationship-centered environment where students are continually empowered and listened to, with the character education framework serving as the foundation.
The rise in student participation, the decrease in office referrals, and the positive culture shift has been convincingly evident in the past two years. This purposeful character education journey has been an incredibly powerful evolution for the school, as they shifted from a strong educational system into an innovative leader in the state in many respects.
Beloit Jr./Sr. High School Principal Casey Seyfert tells us more about the program and the process involved in being bestowed with the distinct and prestigious honor of being named a National School of Character. It is rarified air in every sense of the phrase where less than 1/5 of one percent of the more than 37,000 high schools across all 50 states were recognized for this year’s honors.
Seyfert goes on to tell us about the team he led to ultimately achieve this lofty goal and the roles they all played in the process.
The process has been years in coming, which requiring adjustments and adaptations along the way. Not just in implementing the desired character criteria, but then documenting it and putting it all together for presentation to charcter.org for consideration.
I asked Seyfert now that the notoriety has been achieved and received, what does this mean for the school, it’s students and it’s staff in a tangible way moving forward?
USD 273 Superintendent Jeff Travis gives more insight to how parts of the process work and expressed a great amount of pride in the award and an even greater appreciation for the efforts of the team that made it a reality
Travis said the award is not an end of a process for which they received the desired recognition, but rather an affirmation or a springboard, so to speak, moving forward to continue to be and build on existing as a school of high character and achievement in the years to come with a focus on personal relationships.
Since the inception of Character.org’s Schools of Character program in 1998, 547 schools and 35 districts have been designated as National Schools or Districts of Character. Character.org and its state affiliates certify schools and districts that demonstrate a dedicated focus on character development with a positive impact on academic achievement, student behavior, school climate and their community impact.
They evaluate schools and districts selected in January as State Schools of Character for consideration for national certification through an in-depth and rigorous evaluation process. These schools were found to be exemplary models in character development. Criteria for selection is based on Character.org’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education, a framework to assist schools in providing students with opportunities for moral action, fostering shared leadership and engaging families and communities as partners in the character-building effort.