Prior to starting your application, you’ll want to reflect on your school’s character development work.
Before You Start
Here are tools you can use with your team:
Self-Assessment Tool and Scoring Guide
The self-assessment tool, scoring guide, and self-tabulating score sheet can be used by applicants to assess their school’s implementation of the 11 Principles This is the same scoring guide used by evaluators when assessing your school’s implementation of the 11 Principles
Please note: While many key indicators are listed in the self-assessment tool, there are other activities, strategies, and instructional practices schools may use as evidence of implementation of the 11 Principles
The 11 Principles Framework for Schools: A Guide to Cultivating a Culture of Character
The guidebook is essential if you plan to implement the 11 Principles in your school and submit a School of Character application. We recommend you purchase at least one copy for your team to reference.
Familiarize Yourself with the Application
We recommend you download the School or District PDF below so you can familiarize yourself with the application. There are links for “Questions to Consider” and “Suggested Types of Evidence” provided for each principle.
Please note: The following PDFs are for your reference only. To submit an application, you will need to open and complete the application online via the application link at the bottom of this page.
Already a National School of Character? Here’s what you need to know if you are applying for recertification: Recertification Guidelines (PDF)
Writing Your Application
We encourage you to gather all the information you need prior to filling out the application online.
Applicants will be asked to provide:
• A narrative of your school’s character journey, and, if reapplying or recertifying, how you’ve addressed previous feedback, how you’ve grown your initiative, and your outreach efforts.
• Your school’s core values.
• A narrative of your school’s implementation of each of the 11 Principles.
• Examples and artifacts that fully and clearly demonstrate implementation of each principle. (Artifacts will need to be uploaded into your application as part of a PDF or Word document)
• Academic, behavioral, and school culture and climate data. Please provide 5 years of data for test scores, referrals, suspensions, and school culture and climate survey data. (If you do not have data, enter “n/a” on the application and provide other evidence that shows your character initiative is working)
• Testimonials of stakeholders. (Teachers, non-teaching staff members, students, parents, and community members)
Please keep copies of your narratives, artifacts, and data. This helps you in case of technical issues, and it helps those who come after you find information.
Please note: If you start an application online but do not submit it, your information will not be saved in our system.
Completing and Submitting Your Application
Information you’ll need to complete and submit your application.
Notes for applicants before submitting:
• As you fill out the application online, your progress will be saved automatically.
• The application will “time out” if no activity is detected. If you are going to be away from your application for more than 5 minutes, please select “Save for Later” to avoid losing your data and uploads.
• When you end a writing session, select “Save for Later.” The web host will send you an email with a link to your application.
• Save the link to access your application. You will receive a new link each time you end a writing session. The newest link is always the one you will use to access your application.
• The application cannot be accessed by multiple people simultaneously.
• Remember that spaces and punctuation count. There are limits on the maximum number of characters you can use in each section. Spaces and punctuation count as characters in our system. You do not have to use all of the characters to provide the information necessary. You can maximize the use of characters by listing a practice once in your application.
• Your application is not final until you hit the “Submit” button. Once you have submitted your application, you will no longer be able to edit it.
• Please make sure to save copies of all your documents and artifacts to your own computer before submitting your application.
• You must submit payment with your application. Please follow the directions on the application.
• The fee for schools is $250.00. Fees for districts vary (see Application Fees). We accept credit cards and purchase orders. There is a $25 fee for processing purchase orders.
• You will receive an email confirmation that your application has been received.
• You will receive a receipt (if you use a credit card) or invoice (if you use a purchase order) from Character.org within 14 days.
The fee for schools is $250.00. Fees for districts vary (see here).
We accept credit cards and purchase orders. There is a $25 fee for processing purchase orders.
Consider a Mock Audit
Doing good work but not quite ready to submit an application?
The purpose of the Mock Audit is to assist schools in discovering where they are on their character journey according to the 11 Principles Framework for Schools. This audit provides schools with more detailed feedback on their implementation of the 11 Principles and guidance on how to strengthen their character development work by providing a road map to follow. Mock Audits are open year-round and will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Applicants should expect feedback within 6-8 weeks. Applications submitted as Mock Audits will not receive any designation or certification.
The fee for Mock Audits is $250.00. There is a $25 fee for processing purchase orders.
The 2022 Application is closed. The 2023 Application will open in June.