2012 National Schools of Character Finalists

February 29, 2012 – Washington, D.C. – The Character Education Partnership (CEP) has named 22 public schools, three private schools, one charter school, and two school districts as National Finalists in the 2012 National Schools of Character (NSOC) program.

“These schools are using character education to shape cultures that encourage high student achievement, mutual respect, and integrity among students, staff, and faculty,” said CEP President Mark Hyatt.  “The results show that character education really works to transform schools into learning communities for all stakeholders.”

Schools that apply for NSOC recognition benefit from self-assessment as well as the expert feedback they receive at no cost. Once they reach a standard of excellence, a process that may take several years, they are recognized as Schools of Character and asked to help other schools transform their school cultures. Describing the program as a path to school improvement through high-quality character education, CEP has offered  the NSOC program to K-12 schools and districts in the U.S. since 1998.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to share the stories of 28 more school communities doing the right thing for kids,” said Lara Maupin, NSOC Director. “These are schools where parents get choked up telling visitors what the school means to them.”

The 28 National Finalists were selected from an applicant pool of 126 schools and districts across the United States based on the quality of their written applications. In March and April they will undergo an intensive screening process that will include site visits and analysis of the impact of their character-related efforts on academics, student behavior, and school culture.

The Finalists include 17 elementary schools, four middle schools, two alternative high schools, three mixed-grade schools, one K-12 public school district, and one national charter school district. They represent 15 states and Puerto Rico, with Missouri having the highest number at six. Over half of the Finalists have student populations where one-quarter or more qualify for free or reduced lunch.

The 2012 National Schools of Character will be announced in early May. CEP will honor these schools and districts at the 19th National Forum on Character Education, to be held November 1-3, 2012 in Washington, DC. Visit www.character.org to learn more about the NSOC program and the 2012 National Finalists.

Sailing through the Doldrums

February is a great time of year to reflect, rejuvenate, and refocus when it comes to your character efforts – just before busy springtime arrives and the rest of the school year whizzes by. Take the time as an individual to reflect on how you are modeling your school’s core values each day – and take the time as a staff to consider how you are working to reach the school’s character goals and how you are building an ethical learning community.
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CEP SWOT Analysis & Survey

Mark Hyatt, President & CEO Character Education PartnershipDear Character Education Colleagues,

With five weeks now as the new President of CEP, I must say that I am truly energized by the amazing passion that every stakeholder seems to have for our important mission. From staff, to our Board of Directors, Education Advisory Council, national membership, international educators, and beyond, their excitement is as contagious as it is inspiring. This is clearly CEP’s greatest strength. To continue the SWOT analysis of our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, CEP’s greatest challenge is just as clear. The lack of a sustainable financial model is easily our biggest weakness. But I am confident that it can be fixed.

As it is, CEP depends on private and foundation funding to survive and thrive. However, in recent years, the nation’s prolonged economic recession has caused a steady decline in our annual revenues. I see huge opportunity to increase our membership nationally, and even globally. So, in the weeks and months ahead, look for some exciting changes here at CEP that will enhance your membership experience, both in “cost” and “value”, and help us to achieve a “breakthrough” year in 2012 as an even more visible advocate for character education in schools, families, government and beyond.

On that note, as I survey the big picture, I see a landscape of outstanding character education organizations across the U.S., many competing against each other for the same donor dollars and state or federal grants. So far, though, I have detected little evidence of collaboration or coordination among these like-minded groups. This dilutes resources and ultimately threatens our shared goal: helping students learn to become just and compassionate citizens. With that in mind, I am hopeful that CEP will soon play a greater role in bringing these character groups together to present a persuasive and powerful unified voice in our nation’s capital.

That is our road map for 2012 and beyond. So, you should expect big things from CEP in the months ahead. At our next Board meeting in March, we will consider many new and exciting ideas and I invite you to take the two question survey below to help us shape the future of CEP.  So, stay tuned. I promise to keep you posted as our bright future here unfolds. Please check our Blog regularly and we always welcome your inputs and suggestions. Finally, I look forward to partnering with each and every one of you as together we strive to brighten the futures and strengthen the character of the next “greatest generation”.

Sincerely—Mark

What should CEP’s three top priorities be as we consider our future? Please take our 5-minute survey.