National Schools and Districts of Character

National Schools of Character are schools, early childhood through high school that have demonstrated through a rigorous evaluation process that character development has had a positive impact on academics, student behavior, and school climate. They are now expected to serve as models for other schools, helping them to achieve the same results. They will enjoy the distinction of a National School of Character for 5 years.


Benefits of the process

When schools engage in the Schools of Character process and seek to implement’s framework for success, known as the 11 Principles of Effective Character Education, they:

  • Bring teachers, administrators, support staff, parents, students, and community members together to identify a common set of core values and a unite around a common purpose
  • Go through a process of reflection and self-assessment that helps the school community identify strengths and next steps
  • Receive free professional feedback on their programs as well as suggestions for growth

click-to-download-our-frameworkfor-effecOverview of the process

Schools and districts that are recognized for reaching a standard of excellence at the state level are named State Schools of Character (for three years) and their applications are sent to for evaluation at the national level. If they are again determined to have met a standard of excellence, they are named National Schools of Character (for five years). These schools become part of a national network of schools of character that serve as models and mentors to other educators.

Being named a National School of Character has been the most outstanding award for our students, staff, and community to receive. Character education has changed the climate in our building, increased our academic scores, and is helping shape the future of our students –Jackie Waller, principal, George Guffey E.S. (2011 National School of Character)

Our National Schools of Character are obviously doing something right. They have learned some secrets designed to make their best better. Read Lessons Learned (PDF).

Learn more about how our National Schools of Character did it! Visit their individual web pages. Click on the name of any school to read about their programs and see data, photos, and testimonials.