A Community of Character

After my post on RAGBRAI, Rich Puppione, now retired from the Pleasanton School District, reminded me that one of the features of this year’s National Forum is a site visit to Pleasanton, California. 

Here’s a community where commitment to character permeates everything they do. Four schools in the district have been recognized with National Schools of Character awards, and the school district was named a National District of Character. The mayor, city council, and Chamber of Commerce have also adopted the same core values, or expected behaviors, as the school district has. It truly makes for a community of character. Continue reading


RAGBRAI and Core Values

Last week my brother and sister completed RAGBRAI—the bicycle ride across Iowa. From the starting point in Sioux City to the end point in Dubuque, they rode 480 miles over the course of the week. They both came home tired but euphoric. They’d had a wonderful time.

My sister couldn’t stop talking about how friendly everyone was. “Iowa has to be the most hospitable state ever,” she said. At every stop, people from all walks of life offered their homes to the bicyclists (and there were a lot of them. One count on the first day reported 20,000). The bikers camped out in their yards, slept in their basements, and shared their family rooms.

My sister also noticed a decorating trend in Iowa. “Everyone decorated their houses with words and sayings,” she said, “sometimes just plates on the wall that read ‘Love,’ ‘Family,’ ‘Friendship;’ sometimes framed poems or quotes.” Two she particularly remembered:

“We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.”
“Do take care of the little things or they may become big things.”

I couldn’t help but think there was a connection. Decorating their homes with the core values they believed in surely helped reinforce their hospitable behavior. CEP’s framework, the Eleven Principles of Effective Character Education, begins with a focus on core ethical and performance values. When schools decide what they value most and work to achieve those values, good things happen.

If you want to learn more about CEP’s Eleven Principles of Effective Character Education, there will be lots of opportunities at our national conference, the 17th National Forum on Character Education in October. Come experience the many success stories that have sprung from embracing character education.
From our all-day Foundational Training on Oct. 27, to an in-depth workshop “Aiming for Virtue” to myriad breakout sessions, you’ll find lots of ways to learn more and to develop your own success story.