In some schools, attention to core values and character building have had positive results for overall learning.
At Gibbsboro Elementary in New Jersey, character-building is part of the curriculum for all ages and subjects. The efforts have changed the school culture and brought it national attention.
The Camden County school was among 50 schools and districts across the country recently named finalists as a National Character School. Nine New Jersey schools made the list.
The Cherry Hill Alternative High School and Gibbsboro were the only schools in Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester Counties selected as finalists by the Character Education Partnership, a national advocate for character education.
Only two Pennsylvania schools were chosen this year – Charles Boehm Middle School in Yardley and Pennell Elementary in Aston.
Gibbsboro operates on seven core values – the “Super 7” – that students and staff are expected to follow. They are: service, respect, integrity, motivation, compassion, positivity, and responsibility.
“We’re asking you to do something that is difficult,” said fifth-grade teacher Carla McIlmail. “It is hard.”
During a lesson last week on integrity, Raymond and fellow fifth graders read to the third graders stories they had written and illustrated. Raymond’s story was titled “The Boy Who Had Lots of Integrity.”
McIlmail reinforced the lesson by asking the students to define integrity.
“Do the right thing even if no one is looking,” said third grader Jordi Guifarro, 8.
“Do the right thing even if you don’t get rewarded,” added his classmate Skylar Bryant, also 8.
McIlmail asked the class: “What happens if you never get a certificate for integrity?”
“You still do it,” replied Uche Okoro.
Besides making students better human beings and creating a more nurturing climate, the program has improved student performance, principal Brett Thorp said. The school has about 275 students in prekindergarten through eighth grade.
Read more about core values
Continue reading Core Values and Character Building