Before You Start
Here are tools you can use with your team:
Guide to Applying for School and District of Character
The guide contains more detailed information about the application and review process and includes the State and National School of Character announcement dates. Please download and save this document for future reference.
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.
• Your school’s demographic data.
• 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.
Please note: The information below is also provided on the application.
- We strongly encourage you to assemble all narratives, artifacts, and data in a Word document prior to accessing the application online.
- Save copies of all your documents to your own computer before filling out your application.
- As you fill out your application, you can save your progress. We recommend you do so after each section/page you complete and before you end a writing session.
- The application will ‘timeout’ if no activity is detected within 30 minutes. To begin a new writing session, log back into your account.
- There is a word count for each text field. One page of text should be adequate to explain your implementation of each principle. Please note: You do not need to use the total word count and you will not be able to add text once the word limit is reached. You can maximize space by listing a practice only once in your application.
- Videos may be used; copy and paste the URL link into your narrative field, and make sure the link works. Please note: Character.org may use videos and photos for communications and marketing purposes. Please make sure all videos and photos used meet the release requirements of your school.
- Use all available uploads to help tell your school story. Use different artifacts/evidence for each upload.
- Artifacts need to be uploaded into your application as part of a PDF or Word document. Do not use photos with captions. Photos with captions may be included in the last section of the application.
- In sections with a (+) sign, please enter your first response and select (+) to add any additional responses.
- Please ensure your primary contact and payment information is correct before selecting ‘Start Application’. You will not be able to modify this information later.
- 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” or “yes/no” on the application and provide other evidence that shows your character initiative is working)
- Please make sure your stakeholders answer the question asked in the testimonial section of the application.
- If you start an application but do not submit it by the deadline, your information will not be saved in our system.
- Once you have filled out all sections of the application, select ‘Preview Final Application’ to receive a draft PDF of your application for your team to review. If you are happy with your application, select ‘Approve Application’. You will be asked to confirm this selection. If you need to make changes after reviewing, select ‘Revise Application’’ and log back into your account to continue to edit your application. After editing, select “Preview Final Application’ to receive an updated PDF. Select ‘Approve Application’ when you are ready to submit your application.
- Your application is not complete until you have both selected ‘Approve Application’ and provided payment.
- Applications cannot be edited once submitted.
- APPLICATION FEE: $250 There is an additional $25 administration fee for purchase orders. If paying by credit card please add the name of the person as it appears on the credit card to the application.
- You will receive an email confirmation that your application has been received.
- You will receive a receipt (if you use a credit card) or an invoice (if you use a purchase order) from Character.org within 14 days after submitting your application.
- If you experience problems with the application, please contact Lori Soifer at [email protected]. Please provide your name and the name of your school as it appears on your application.
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.
Application closes Friday, November 11, 2022 at 11:59pm (EST)