Brigantine Elementary is highly recognized in the state of New Jersey as well as nationally for its outstanding character education program. Brigantine’s Strategic Planning Committee has built a caring school community using a comprehensive, intentional approach designed to address specific community needs. Located in a small-town island community across a bridge from Atlantic City, the community is greatly impacted by its proximity to the nearby gambling casinos. Demographic changes have dramatically impacted the district and the school, prompting development of a plan and a home-grown program to meet the needs of the increasingly diverse population. The result: being named the Kindest School in New Jersey four times. According to Principal Don Marrandino, “Our goal at Brigantine Elementary is to teach children at a very young age to make good ethical decisions. Part of that process is learning how to have power over your own behavior. When children make the right choices, they are empowering themselves to be the best they can be.”
Outreach: During their 2011-12 award year, Brigantine participated in an international outreach project with a school in New Zealand to help a school in Nepal.
Lesson Plan: Kindness is Contagious
To infuse values and cultural awareness into the curriculum, the principal and school staff developed “Kindness is Contagious.” The program promotes kindness, which leads to students developing respect for themselves and others.