Promising Practices Application
Do you have a specific, unique, and effective character education strategy or program to share with others?

Promising Practices2016 National and International Promising Practices has awarded 327 Promising Practices to schools, districts, and youth-serving organizations from across the United States — as well as from Canada, China, Colombia, and Mexico. Read press release >>

See list of 2016 National and International Promising Practices >>

The Promising Practices program highlights what’s going well in classrooms across America and the world. The program is simple in scope and recognizes many wonderful ideas from passionate teachers who are making a real difference in the lives of their students. Each year, we get the opportunity to celebrate specific, unique, and fresh ideas in character education.

The program provides educators, parents, and community leaders an opportunity to see how simple initiatives can make a big difference in school climate and student development. Every year, hundreds of educators take simple, intentional steps to impact the ethical growth of their students – despite shrinking budgets and other competing challenges.

Most practices are simple in scope and don’t have extensive costs associated with them. They enable students to experience positive character firsthand, as well as enrich their lives and the lives of others. Each winning practice meets at least one of’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education and at least one of 31 sub-topics, such as Relationship Building, Mentoring/Buddies, Service Learning, or Integration with Academics.

Additional information will be available as the application window approaches

ELIGIBILITY:  All schools, districts, and youth-serving organizations worldwide are eligible to apply.


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  • National recognition at CEP’s annual conference, the National Forum on Character Education
  • Inclusion in CEP’s searchable online database of Promising Practices for 3 years (one webpage per winning practice)
  • Beautiful certificate, suitable for framing, and the opportunity to order a banner for your school

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  • Basic contact and demographic information about you and your school/organization and the students you serve
  • The name of your practice and the Principles and Topics it fits under
  • A one-sentence and a one-paragraph description of your practice
  • A photo of your practice in action (.jpg file)
  • What is the practice and how have you implemented it in your school/district/organization? [1800 characters max]
  • How does the specific practice contribute to character development? [1200 characters max]
  • What impact is the practice having on students in your school/district/organization? [1200 characters max]

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  • Clarity/completion of narrative: All sections of the application should be complete and there must be enough detail in the narrative responses for evaluators to judge the effectiveness of the practice.
  • Uniqueness: Although a given practice may be new to a particular school or local area, it may not be unique nationwide (or worldwide). Many wonderful and effective practices (such as mentoring programs, service clubs, or leadership training) are sometimes not selected because they are not unique or there are many such practices submitted for consideration in a given year.
  • Specificity: CEP is looking for distinct programs or practices that may be replicated, not descriptions of a school’s entire character education focus or initiative. Applications that contain decriptions of numerous practices may fail to meet this criteria.
  • 11 Principles: Practices must be in keeping with CEP’s 11 Principles. For example, for Principle 5, community service projects will not be selected if they do not include the components of service learning (student identification of community needs and leadership, connection to curriculum, and reflection). Similarly, even though “caught being good” or other student recognition programs may be effective or well loved in a given school, CEP is looking for practices that do not excessively single students out for recognition or give students material or extrinsic rewards in order to best satisfy the spirit and intent of Principle 7.
  • Number of awards per applicant: CEP does not give more than two awards to any one school, district, or organization applicant in a given year. (Applications submitted by individual schools within a district are not considered “district” applications. Therefore, a single district may win numerous awards in a given year if they are submitted by different schools and perhaps also the central office.)
  • Non endorsement of specific programs: Because CEP is an umbrella organization for character educators, we are not able to endorse specific curricula or programs. If giving a Promising Practice award to an organization or individual for their proprietary program would amount to endorsement of that program, the Promising Practice cannot be awarded, regardless of the merits of the program. In addition, the Promising Practices application simply does not allow for a thorough evaluation of a specific program or curriculum. CEP is also interested in the ability of other educators to replicate Promising Practices, which is often not possible with programs or curricula that must be purchased or obtained from a specific organization. Educators who use specific programs that they have obtained from outside organizations or experts may certainly still apply, but they should be able to demonstrate 1) how they made the program fit the unique needs of their community and 2) impact.


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  • You are encouraged to compose your responses to the narrative questions in a word processing program and then cut and paste from your document directly into the online application. Doing so will save you time and frustration should an unlikely technical error occur.
  • Character limits DO count toward the total number of characters. Text that exceeds the character limits will be deleted.
  • While we welcome applications from schools outside the United States, please note that at this time we only have the ability to evaluate applications written in English. Please respond to the narrative questions in English.
  • You will be asked to upload a photo of your practice in action. Please have a .jpg file ready to upload. If you do not have a photo that represents your practice, you can upload a photo of your school. If your photo includes students, be sure to follow your school/district policies for releasing photos since this photo may appear on CEP’s website, in publications, and in the awards ceremony should your practice be selected.
  • Please note that contact information and overview information entered in this application may appear on CEP’s website and in CEP publications if your practice is selected as a National Promising Practice.
  • You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish until you push the “submit” button at the end of the application. Once an application has been submitted, it cannot be edited. You may, however, create new applications for other practices.  A school (or district) may submit multiple applications for different practices, although no more than two will be selected in a given year.

You will be able to create and print a PDF of your application for your records. You will also receive a confirmation e-mail for each application you submit. If you do not receive a confirmation or if you have questions about your application, contact Dave Keller at