EC-Header_September 2015
Becky Sipos, President & CEO 

The Power of Partnering with Parents
Early in my teaching career, I called a parent concerned about her daughter. I’ll never forget her response: “I don’t call you for help with my job, so why are you calling me for help with yours?” I still vividly recall my shock as I had assumed helping her daughter develop into a responsible adult was a shared commitment.

As I gained experience, I realized that for many parents a call from school always meant bad news and was to be avoided. So I shifted my approach and began sending home positive post cards for every student and calling home with something positive about each child in my classes. At Back to School night . . . read more >>

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Last Chance to Save!

The Early Bird discount ends Tuesday, Sept. 15th. Make your last-minute arrangements to register and attend the 2015 National Forum in Atlanta before it’s too late. Here’s a reminder of some of the great content we’re offering:

- Workshops and Off-site Visits >>
- Breakout Sessions >>

If you haven’t already, reserve your room at our special group rate, and book your flight before all the good deals are gone.

    Register before Tuesday and save $50
Join us in celebrating Character Day 2015!
Character Day is an international event, led by Let it Ripple, that uses short films to encourage communities to reflect on and discuss the importance of good character. is hosting our very own event, on Sept. 17th at 6:30 p.m. to share two short films, "The Science of Character" and "The Adaptable Mind." We will also engage the community in conversation about character with an interactive panel, facilitated by education consultant, Dara Feldman, featuring representatives from America's Promise Alliance, the Aspen Institute, and Character Matters DC.

We hope to see you there!
Learn more and sign up >>

Can't make it? Consider hosting your own Character Day event!

Congressman John Lewis 
Congressman John Lewis to Receive American Patriot of Character Award is proud to announce that Congressman John Lewis has been chosen to receive the 2015 American Patriot of Character award. Each year, this national award is given to one American citizen whose leadership exemplifies the very best of our nation’s founding principles and ideals.  It seeks to recognize individuals who rise to the top of their chosen fields while upholding the very highest ethical standards in service to the common good. The award will be presented at’s National Forum on Character Education, Oct. 17 in Atlanta. Read press release >>  

Dr. Dave Keller 
View from the Sidelines
by Dr. Dave Keller, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Promising Practices

The game was OK… but what a halftime!

This past week, I had the opportunity to visit the tiny rural town of Chester, Texas (about 
100 miles northeast of Houston).  On Friday night, I received an invitation to ride into town to watch the local Chester High School football game.  

I accepted the invitation (what else was I going to do in Chester on a Friday night???) I know what you’re thinking. Texas High School football. Friday Night Lights. Your mind is likely racing to images of stadiums that cost tens of . . . read more>>
Schools of Character Badge 
Apply Now to be a 2016 National School of Character

Want help in creating your application?
 Join Schools of Character Director, Sheril Morgan, on September 16 at 4:00 pm EDT for a free webinar: 4 Strategies for Writing an Awesome Schools of Character Application. Webinar sign-up >>

Apply now to become a School of Character >>
Promising-Practice Badge
Promising Practices Application Opens
November 2

The Promising Practices program highlights what's going well in classrooms across America and the world.  The program is simple in scope and recognizes many wonderful ideas from passionate teachers who are making a real difference in the lives of their students.  Learn more >>
Lesson Plans for Constitution Day
Thursday, Sept. 17, is Constitution Day, commemorating the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787. Legislation requires schools to offer lessons on the Constitution and how it affects all Americans. The Journalism Education Association has created lesson plans designed to help students celebrate the Constitution and Bill of Rights, as mandated by Congress.  JEA has lesson plans emphasizing the First Amendment and particularly the freedoms of speech and the press. 
SOC Trining 
National Schools of Character Share Strategies at Interstate Conference 
In a first for the Schools of Character program, New Jersey and New York joined hands to showcase the effective practices of four National Schools of Character in teaching the new immigrants. This interstate conference, held at the Juan Pablo Duarte-Jose Julian Marti School 28 in Elizabeth, New Jersey, on Aug. 24, featured four presentations by schools that had an impressive record of addressing the needs of a newly arrived immigrant population. In keeping with the theme of the 2015 Forum, all schools have registered significant social and academic gains by “linking smart and good” in their approach. “These schools are remarkable in the way they have faced the challenge of teaching a student body that represents many different nationalities and ethnicities,” said Dr. Philip Fusco, coordinator of the New York State Schools of Character program.
Read more>>
Education Policy Update
Work continues on reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Congressional education leaders have started the conferencing process to reconcile the two bills and pass the resulting compromise in both chambers. According to “ESEA High on Agenda of Education Issues as Congress Returns,” a recent piece by EdWeek, the issue most in need of further negotiation is accountability. Lamar Alexander anticipates these negotiations will likely be finished by the end of fall. is encouraging the committees to maintain the language found in Titles I, II and IV in S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA), related to strategies that help establish learning environments to improve students’ academic and nonacademic skills which are essential for school readiness and academic success. In addition, we urge the Committees to maintain the definition of Professional Development found in H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, which includes building teacher, principal, and other school leader capacity in addressing the social and emotional development needs of students.

Notable news: House education committee chair John Kline (R-MN) announced he would not seek re-election in 2016. Read more>> 
Suggested Reading
The Center for Curriculum Redesign has published its Character framework, three years in the making. It had been announced at its 2014 Geneva conference, jointly with the Geneva Declaration. The curriculum includes six essential character qualities, from which numerous other related concepts are derived, are: Mindfulness, Curiosity, Courage, Resilience, Ethics, and Leadership.  
News Briefs

Tips for Parents offers great guides for encouraging your child’s growth in terms of academics, social emotional skills and health & wellness. Let these ideas inspire you to help your child make this year the best school year ever. 

Friendship Matters: Helping Kids Make and Keep Friends
Like most skills, the skills of friendship are refined through trial and error. So, the more opportunities kids have to try out what works with others and what doesn’t, the greater likelihood social competence will develop. That puts a lot of kids at a disadvantage. Read more >>

Calendar Items

Sept. 16 --Free Schools of Character Application webinar

Sept. 17 - Celebrating Character: A Film Screening & Conversation - Washington, D.C.

Oct. 15-17 - 2015 National Forum on Character Education - Atlanta, Georgia

Oct. 23-24 Canada Character Conference

Donate Now Membership Corner
We are delighted to add the following new members to our network:
 Douglas Alexander
Brenda Atkins   Regina Bozeman  Marqueritha Clarke
 Diane Eckes Jennifer Forness  Joy Potter  Darin Thomas
 Academy of the Canyons Brentwood School  USD #377  Bayless School District
Become a Member 

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