Academic Achievement
When students feel safe, engaged, and respected, they can focus on their academic goals. Effective character educators ensure that these needs are met. Character education is the foundation upon which students can reach academic achievement. It’s not just about teaching kids to be good. It’s teaching them to be their best.

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

CASE STUDY: Lindbergh High School Goes from Underdog to Leader of the Pack

In 1999, Lindbergh thought it was doing well academically until it compared itself with analogous districts: Lindbergh was sixth out of six in state test results, its ACT composite was 22, and only about half of the graduating class had taken the ACT.

Today, Lindbergh is recognized as one of Missouri’s Top Ten Highest-Performing Schools for academic achievement in mathematics and communication arts.

From 1999 to 2009, student performance on the MAP improved from 24 to 84 percent proficient/advanced in mathematics, and from 10 to 66 percent in communication arts.

Lindbergh’s principal, Dr. Ron Helms, attributes the school’s academic growth to character education becoming “part of the culture.”

Helms reports, “This safe, secure, and respectful environment has allowed students to focus their attention on academic achievement. More time is spent on studies and academic pursuits rather than struggling to be safe.”

“Many teachers are increasingly aware that it is possible to use existing language arts, social studies, history, or arts courses as a springboard from which to promote social and emotional literacy.” – Jonathan Cohen in “Social, Emotional, Ethical, and Academic Education: Creating a Climate for Learning, Participation in Democracy, and Well-Being”

High-quality character education leads to academic achievement. Take a look at this supporting study: Character and Academics: What Good Schools Do

Our National Schools of Character consistently show that character education is positively correlated with academic achievement. More than half of all students at a 2011 NSOC performed at or above proficiency on standardized tests, with the exception of one school, and 49 percent of the public schools reached AYP, consistent with the national average.

One National School of Character’s academics have improved drastically since implementing character education.

“Our students made substantial gains on the state assessments at every grade level assessed and in comparison to our regional district cohort and the state as a whole. What is even more encouraging is that the gap between white, African-American, Hispanic, and economically disadvantaged student groups is shrinking on all assessments.”
— Dr. Timothy R Jenney, superintendent of Fort Bend Independent School District (2011 NSOC)

When kids understand the importance of doing their best work, and the intrinsic value this carries – the ability to reach their potential – they will do their best because they want to, not because they have been asked. They will be the best student, friend, classmate, community member, and citizen they can be because it makes them feel good to do good and do well.

“You can’t run a school effectively without a thorough knowledge that social and emotional learning goes hand-in-hand with academic success”
— Dina Rocheleau, principal of Roosevelt Primary School (2011 NSOC).


Marvin Berkowitz and Melinda Bier, experts in the field of character education, have identified character education programs that enhance academic achievement.

Researcher after researcher has found a relationship between comprehensive character education and improved scholastic success. Several have said, “Well-conceived programs of character education can and should exist side-by-side with strong academic programs.”

Jonathan Cohen, president of the National School Climate Center (formerly the Center for Social and Emotional Education), says there are more than 300 empirical studies that support the notion that “when schools make these core processes integral facets of school life, student achievement increases and school violence decreases.”