Character Education

  • School of Character

    • Throughout time, societies have recognized the need to educate the coming generation of adults to pass on knowledge and skills. Recorded history from long before the present era emphasizes that education must also develop character.

      One of the great education reformers, Horace Mann, in the 1840s, helped to improve instruction in classrooms nationwide, advocating that character development was as important as academics in American schools. 

      Within the character of the citizen lies the welfare of the nation.
      — Cicero


      What is character education?

      Throughout history, character education has been the shared responsibility of parents, teachers and members of the community, who come together to support positive character development.

      ...nothing is of more importance for the public weal, than to form and train up youth in wisdom and virtue.
       Benjamin Franklin


      Character education teaches the habits of thought and action that help people live and work together as families, friends, neighbors, communities and nations.

      Character education is a learning process that enables students and adults in a school community to understand, care about and act on core ethical values such as integrity, empathy, and perseverance. Upon such core values, we form the attitudes and actions that are the hallmark of safe, healthy and informed communities that serve as the foundation of our society.

      What is the school's role in character education?

      Students spend much of their young lives in classrooms. This time in school is an opportunity to explain and reinforce the core values upon which character is formed.

      In our school, character education is approached comprehensively to include the emotional, intellectual and moral qualities of a person or group. We offer multiple opportunities for students to learn about, discuss and enact positive social behaviors. Student leadership and involvement are essential for character education to become a part of a student's beliefs and actions.

      To successfully implement character education, West Elementary:

      • Brought the staff, parents, and students together to identify and define the elements of character they want to emphasize which resulted in the focus on our three Core Values of Perseverance, Integrity, and Empathy
      • Provides ongoing training for staff on how to integrate character education into the life and culture of the school;
      • Conducts daily morning meetings embedding the Anchor Tools of the RULER philosophy form Yale University;
      • Created Houses twice each month to form positive connections between staff and students to teach/practice our Core Values and enact our character values;
      • Handles student discipline through a lense of Restorative Justic which empowers students to own their actions, empthize with their peers, and create plans for more prosocial behavior in the future; and
      • Offers a variety of before/after school activities which embed character education and our Core Values.