2010-06-18 / Education

Lake Carolina elementary first in SC to get National School of Character award

Contributed by S.C. Department of Education

Richland School District Two’s Lake Carolina Elementary—cited earlier this year as one of the state’s 2010 Schools of Character—has now become the first South Carolina school to earn a National School of Character award.

Lake Carolina is one of 13 schools and two school districts selected for national recognition by the Character Education Partnership. There were 20 award finalists from across the country.

The selection committee said it broke precedent by selecting 15 award winners. Since the program began in 1998, CEP has only given more than 10 awards once when it gave 11. Two–person teams visited each finalist to see its programs in action before the panel of experts met to make its final selection.

National winners are chosen on the strength of their outstanding work in encouraging the ethical, social, and academic growth of their students through effective character education.

Winners become ambassadors of effective character education and provide professional development sessions at their home sites. Each winner receives a $3,000 grant to support its outreach efforts.

Lake Carolina’s character education efforts include discussing lifeskills on its daily morning show as administrators relate the values to the upcoming events of the day, and student leaders describe ways to apply them.

Each year, a group of fifth–grade “Gator Leaders” determines which values should be focused on during specific months.

These values are shared through marquees, classroom newsletters and school calendars. Character education guidelines and lifeskills are displayed throughout the school and on school buses.

Students are taught sign language for each lifelong guideline and lifeskill, and students, teachers, and staff use sign language to communicate. School events promote positive character. Teachers incorporate classroom jobs into their daily routines to help students practice responsibility and to create a sense of belonging.

National School of Character winners will be honored at the National Forum on Character Education in October in San Francisco. In addition, their stories will be showcased in the partnership’s annual publication and on its website.

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