2018 Promising Practices Application
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 recognized practice meets at least one of Character.org’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.
ELIGIBILITY: All schools, districts, and youth-serving organizations worldwide are eligible to apply. Application Fee: $100 per application
DEADLINE: February 16, 2018
IMPORTANT INFORMATION – READ BEFORE YOU APPLY!
- 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. Spaces and special characters are included in the character limits. 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 Character.org’s website, in publications, and in the ceremony should your practice be selected.
- Please note that contact information and overview information entered in this application may appear on Character.org’s website and in Character.org 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.
BENEFITS FOR RECIPIENTS
- National recognition at Character.org’s annual conference, the National Forum on Character Education
- Inclusion in Character.org’s searchable online database of Promising Practices for 3 years (one webpage per winning practice)
- Certificate, suitable for framing, and the opportunity to order a banner for your school
QUESTIONS ASKED OF APPLICANTS
- 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 – includes spaces]
- How does the specific practice contribute to character development? [1200 characters max – includes spaces]
- What impact is the practice having on students in your school/district/organization? [1200 characters max – includes spaces]
- 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: Character.org 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 descriptions of numerous practices may fail to meet this criteria.
- 11 Principles: Practices must be in keeping with Character.org’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education. 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, Character.org 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 recognized practices per applicant: Schools and districts may receive a maximum of two Promising Practices for practices that focus on organized athletics and two that focus on classroom, curriculum or instructional community practices. (Applications submitted by individual schools within a district are not considered “district” applications. Therefore, a single district may have numerous practices selected in a given year if they are submitted by different schools and perhaps also the central office.)
- Non-endorsement of specific programs: Because Character.org is an umbrella organization for character educators, we are not able to endorse specific curricula or programs. If giving a Promising Practice to an organization or individual for their proprietary program would amount to endorsement of that program, the Promising Practice cannot be selected, 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. Character.org 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.
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 David Yeager at firstname.lastname@example.org.