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Promising Practices

In 2023, Character.org recognized 178 Promising Practices. Each of these 178 practices or initiatives demonstrated a positive impact and strongly aligns with the 11 Principles that help schools and organizations cultivate a culture of character. We celebrated our 2023 Promising Practices at our 30th Anniversary International Forum in November. Learn more.

Questions to Consider Before Applying

Is your initiative or practice innovative or significant?

Does your initiative or practice align with one or more of the 11 Principles?

Does your initiative or practice connect to your school’s core values?

The Evaluation Process

Although a given practice may be new to a particular school, it may not be unique nationwide. Many wonderful and effective practices, such as mentoring programs, service clubs, recognizing Veterans, or leadership opportunities, are not selected because these initiatives are not unique or different from other practices we have previously recognized. We are looking to recognize new approaches and initiatives that have not been implemented elsewhere.

We will be evaluating the extent to which your practice or initiative aligns with one or more of principles articulated in our 11 Principles Framework for Schools: A Guide to Cultivating a Culture of Character.

The application should contain sufficient evidence of impact (for students, staff, parents, community members, etc.). Some practices may hold promise but have yet to demonstrate objective evidence of impact.

Your narrative needs to include sufficient detail for the evaluators to assess the effectiveness of the practice.

District submissions should include sufficient evidence of a district-level initiative including how the district leaders provided direction that enabled or enhanced the practice.

Helpful Hints While Writing Your Application

  • Character limits – Spaces and special characters are included in the character limits. Text that exceeds the character limits will not be included.
  • Applications in English only – While we welcome applications from outside the United States, please note that we can only accept applications written in English.
  • Include a Photo – You will be asked to upload a photo of your practice in action. Please read the PHOTO TIPS closely in the application.
  • Photo Release Policy – If your photo includes young people, please be sure to follow relevant policies for releasing photos since this photo may appear on Character.org’s website, in publications and any recognition event (should your practice be selected).
  • Contact Information – The contact and overview information provided in your application may appear on Character.org’s website and publications (should your practice be selected).
  • Submitting your Application – You may “save and return” to your application as many times as you wish until you click the “submit” button at the end of the application. Once the application has been submitted, it cannot be edited.
  • Multiple Applications – We invite your school, district, or organization to submit multiple applications for different practices, although no more than two will be selected in a given year.


Submission Process

Character.org does not give more than two designations to any one school or district applicant in a given year.

Application fee is $100 per application.

If paying by purchase order, there is an additional $25 per application administrative fee.

We recommend you take some time reviewing the application PDF before starting the final application. Remember to draft and save your application in a Word document. Your responses will not be saved in the system until the application is submitted.


When is the deadline?

The Promising Practices application deadline is March 22, 2024 at midnight EST.

Where can I access the application?

You can apply at this link.

Where do I submit payment?

There will be an area at the end of the application where you can enter credit card information.

I cannot submit the application.

Try another browser if you encounter problems. We recommend you work on your application in a Word document as a back-up. Google Chrome has worked well for most when completing the application. If you continue having issues, please contact diana@character.org.

How are Promising Practices recipients determined?

Character.org assesses each application based on the following criteria: (1) the extent to which your initiative or program is unique, different, or in some way will contribute to the field of character development; (2) the extent to which your practice or initiative aligns with one or more principles articulated in our 11 Principles Framework for Schools; and (3) if your application narrative explains the impact of your practice or initiative (for students, staff, parents, community members, etc.).

When is the announcement?

The recipients will be announced in June 2024 and recognized at our 2024 Forum.

Greenwood Elementary School

“Little Learners, Big Buddies”

Defines “character” comprehensively to include thinking, feeling, and doing.

Two staff members at Greenwood Elementary in New Jersey created “Big Buddies, Little Learners” to encourage leadership and responsibility for 5th graders while also addressing the academic goals for all Kindergartners. The fifth graders work together to develop lessons for the younger students that are designed to build social, emotional, and academic confidence, including lessons on mindfulness, gratitude, and the environment.

Northeast Middle School

“Restorative Conversations”

Creates a caring community.

This promising practice at Northeast Middle School in Missouri focuses on ways to create honest discussions after a conflict occurs between scholars or between scholars and adults. With the help of a trained facilitator, these restorative conversations help to create and foster a safe forum that aims to shift the conflict from blame to understanding and repairing the relationship. These conversations are grounded in the school’s core values and motto: “Relationships Matter. Every Scholar Matters. Every Moment Counts.”

Colegio Nueva Granada

“Parenting for Life”

Engages families and community members as partners.

The CNG Proyecto Vida (Parenting for Life) project reinforces the importance of home-school partnerships. Parents and the school staff work together to teach lessons that address social/emotional issues and each lesson always includes a greeting, guided relaxation, a story, role-play, games, and a group reflection. This promising practice offers parents the opportunity to be seen as role models and “character educators” both at school and at home. CNG is located in Bogota, Colombia.