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Schools Of Character

Becoming A School Of Character

A School Of Character has formed a positive and powerful culture that changes lives. The key to this transformation lies in a set of shared “core values” that are the beating heart of the school. These core values, chosen by the stakeholders of the school, embody what the school stands for and serve as the anchors and guideposts that unite and bind together the school community.

The process of becoming a School of Character isn’t just limited to a curriculum or a single aspect of school life. Rather, a School of Character has taken a proactive approach to implementing the 11 Principles Framework for Schools: A Guide to Cultivating a Culture of Character.

The 11 Principles Framework has inspired and guided thousands of schools around the world to develop a comprehensive and sustained character initiative that is intentional, involves all school stakeholders, and is woven into all aspects of the school’s culture, teaching, and learning.

When a school applies to become a School of Character, the application is reviewed and scored by one of our 350 evaluators, most of whom have been through the application process with their own schools. This peer-to-peer model is at the core of our approach to supporting schools committed to becoming a School of Character.

Benefits of Becoming a School of Character

More than 3 million educators, students, parents and community members across the country and internationally have been positively impacted by being involved with a School of Character. Over the years, school and community stakeholders have shared with us 3 significant benefits:


A palpable “ethic of caring” defines the school culture

Staff members use the word “family” to describe the culture of their school. Students perceive their teachers and staff as caring. Discipline reflects the positive attachments between all members of the school community.

Students who use the core values to guide their behaviors and choices at school, home, and community

Schools of Character strive to cultivate true heart change in every student, whether it’s a commitment to be honest and trustworthy, to volunteer their time and talents to the common good, or when necessary, to show the courage to stand up for what is right.

Families are an integral partner in the school’s character initiative

A School of Character takes intentional steps to involve all parents and caregivers. Whether it’s encouraging parents and caregivers to get involved in the school’s character committee or talking to new families about the school’s core values, a School of Character recognizes that families have a key role in the success of the school’s character initiative.

How One Student Appreciates the Culture of Character at Her School

Meet Lori Soifer

Director, National Schools of Character


On behalf of the entire team at Character.org, I want to personally welcome you to our Character.org family. We are so glad you are here!

Whether you are just beginning, or continuing your character journey, we look forward to working with you and your team to ensure every student at your school understands, cares about, and consistently practices the core values that will help them flourish in school, in relationships, and in life.

Over 350 volunteers are involved with the Schools of Character program. All of our volunteers are educators who helped their own schools through the process to become a School of Character. This professional development model is at the core of our approach to guiding and supporting schools through the School of Character process. 

We believe the process of developing a culture of character can’t be fostered through a “stand alone” curriculum or a single school-wide initiative. Rather, we encourage schools to implement The 11 Principles Framework for Schools, an evidence-informed framework based on decades of research and proven results. The framework is designed to provide your school with a comprehensive school improvement process that, if fully implemented, will transform the culture of your school.

Our certification process provides an integrated approach to plan, implement, assess, and sustain your school’s commitment to character development. The 11 Principles provide the concepts and key indicators that will enable your school to foster character by design – a process that weaves character into the very fabric of the school’s culture. 

There is no curriculum to purchase…the only resource needed is a group of school leaders who care deeply about inspiring their students to care about and practice a wide range of character strengths. 

We are here to support you!

Lori Soifer, Director, Schools of Character

National School Of Character Trends

Schools of Character are places where students, teachers, and parents want to be.

Students Impacted in 2023 – 60,000

Students Impacted Overall – 1.5 million


“I have finally had a chance to sit and read all of the feedback, and I am in tears. As I reflect, I think about how I would have loved to be at a school like Magnet when I was a child.”

Yolanda Stockdale

Teacher - 6th Grade, Tuscaloosa Magnet Schools-Middle, Alabama

“We’ve been trying to improve for the past 7-8 years and we were floundering until we found the 11 Principles. The 11 Principles helped pull our work together. We now know where we need to go.”

Michael Cottone

Principal, Troy Union Elementary, Michigan

“I appreciate all of the support and guidance throughout our journey this year.”

Brandi Halverson

Counselor , Doerre Intermediate School, Texas

2023 National Schools Of Character

Red Bank Charter Academy

Red Bank Charter Academy in Red Bank, NJ is a National School of Character! The school is dedicated to cultivating a culture of respect, responsibility, citizenship, and empathy in their students. They strive to create a safe, nurturing, and inspiring learning environment for all students.

Person Early College

Person Early College for Innovation and Leadership in Roxboro, NC is a unique school that focuses on both character education and college preparation. Through a combination of small class sizes, hands-on learning, and a strong focus on character development, students at the school are equipped with the skills and knowledge to be successful in college and life. The school has a strong emphasis on developing leadership, communication, and collaboration skills, as well as fostering an appreciation of various cultures and perspectives.

A Russell Knight Elementary

A. Russell Knight Elementary in Cherry Hill, NJ is proud to be recognized as a National School of Character. The school’s commitment to building character, teaching respect, and promoting strong ethical values has been key to its success.

Why Apply to be a School of Character?

Schools function best when students and educators treat each other with kindness, respect, integrity, and embrace other character strengths when learning together. Being recognized as a School of Character means all staff, students, and parents have made the commitment to create a school culture that intentionally emphasizes and models a wide range of character strengths. More importantly, you are raising good citizens, good neighbors, and leaders of integrity that will positively impact your community for generations to come.

National Schools of Character are recognized at our International Forum, held annually, and on our website and social media.

More Benefits of Becoming a School of Character

  • Recognition at Character.org’s annual International Forum, and on Character.org’s website and social media.
  • Being part of a network of schools committed to embedding character into all aspects of school life.
  • Professional feedback on your progress by our team of evaluators – all educators with Schools Of Character experience.
  • Personal Guidance from our Character.org staff to help customize your character journey.
  • Opportunities for outreach including sharing best practices with others and on our website, becoming trained Character.org evaluators, and mentoring schools new to the program.
  • Being recognized as a leader in the field of character development in schools.
  • A Character.org Logo celebrating your achievement as a School of Character to use on your school letterhead, website, and social media.
  • State and National School of Character banners and flags can be purchased for display at your school.

Need more information or have questions?