Essential Character Newsletter                                        January 2014
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Character Education Partnership


CEP Announces Change in Executive Leadership
The Character Education Partnership (CEP), a national advocate and leader for the character education movement, has announced that Mark Hyatt will step down as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective Jan. 9. The organization’s board of directors has appointed Rebecca Sipos as interim president to ensure a smooth transition and to lead CEP’s executive team while it conducts a search for a permanent CEO.

President’s Farewell Message

Dear CEP Friends,
My many thanks to all of you. Yes, it is gratitude that overwhelms me as I step down as CEP President and CEO.

I accepted this position two years ago with the blessing of CEP founder Sandy McDonnell, who sadly passed away less than 80 days after I took office. Every minute since has been an honor and a privilege for me here to carry on Sandy's torch . . . Read more >>

2014 National Forum
Call for Proposals

CEP is seeking proposals for the 2014 National Forum on Character Education. We seek proposals from top scholars, teachers, administrators, counselors and other school personnel. We also welcome proposals from parents, students and community members. The conference theme, “Beyond Accountability, Inspiring Greatness,” is designed to help us all rediscover the joy of inspiring young people. See guidelines and submit your proposal online.
Rebecca Sipos, Interim President & CEO 
Focused Optimism from CEP’s Interim President

By Rebecca Sipos

As the newly appointed interim President of CEP, I am humbled by the very real challenges all of us working toward character in education face, but I also come to this position with focused optimism and confidence in CEP’s bright future. I agree with CEP’s board chair that CEP’s best days lie ahead and that we are positioned to fulfill our mission of providing the vision, leadership, and resources for developing ethical and engaged citizens. Read more >>

Featured Lesson Plan
Imagine School at Town Center 

By Russ Sojourner
Director, Schools of Character

Welcome to 2014!  I sincerely hope you had a wonderful vacation and holiday season, and were able to spend quality time with friends, family, and loved ones.  As we look forward to the second half of the school year, please be reminded that character isn’t just about the “softer side” of educating our children, rather rigorous academics, individualized instruction, and the nurturing of critical thinking skills are equally important to whole child development. Read more >>   

California Avenue School 

Time Now to Apply for Promising Practice Recognition
By Dave Keller, Director

The New Year is a popular time to dream, imagine, and set personal goals for growth.  In this month’s Essential Character submission, I’d like to “dream” a little regarding CEP’s Promising Practices (PP) program:

Quick history:  More than a decade ago, at its inception, the PP program was very limited in scope: only 41 initiatives were recognized the first year out of 72 total applications.  Read more >>                      

Recommended Blogs 

From Character Education Partnership
How Are Social-Emotional Learning and the Common Core Connected?
by Dr. Maurice Elias

From Edutopia
Creating More Compassionate Classrooms
by Joshua Block  

 News Briefs

Do's and Don'ts of Celebrating MLK Day
A list of recommended "Do's" and "Don'ts" to consider when observing the life and legacy of Dr. King with students. Teaching Tolerance Magazine

Free Course of Digital Citizenship for Educators
Join the free, quasi-MOOC on digital citizenship, starting January 12, 2014 and running through the end of April. It is geared toward educators who want to understand digital citizenship's big picture issues, as well as develop an understanding of implementation strategies and student activities.

Department of Education and Justice Department Resources

School Discipline Guidance Package
The U.S. Department of Education (ED), in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), released on January 8th a school discipline guidance package that will assist states, districts and schools in developing solutions to enhance school climate, and improve school discipline policies and practices. To view the resource documents

Supportive School Discipline (SSD) Webinar Series
The importance of continued commitment to reforming our Nation’s school discipline practices was most recently underscored in The White House’s January 2013 plan to protect children and communities and its call to identify and share best practices on school discipline polices and equitable implementation. The department is now offering a webinar series to provide practical examples of discipline practices that maintain school safety and ensure academic engagement and success for students.

Youth Engaged for Change
Youth Engaged 4 Change is an extension of created to encourage young people to shape programs, policies, and services that affect them; promote meaningful partnerships; share federal resources; and connect youth and young adults to opportunities funded by the federal government.

New Bullying Prevention Training Center on
Access core resources, the Bullying Prevention Training Module and Community Action Toolkit, and eleven new, audience-specific user guides. These guides were developed in collaboration with over 40 partner organizations from the public and private sectors, which provided review and insightful feedback to the content. The user guides, available in English and Spanish, provide relevant statistics and best practices.

Calendar Items                     

Learning for Life National Conference, “Developing 21st Century Essentials: Impact Student Success.” Key Bridge Marriott Hotel, Washington, D.C. Learn more >>

BOOST Conference, April 29 - May 2, Palm Springs, CA. Join the nation's largest, most recognized and comprehensive conference for after-school and out-of-school time professionals. Set in a retreat-like atmosphere, this extraordinary event will rejuvenate your passion and boost your direction for quality programming. Learn more >>
National Conference on Character, October 16 - 17, 2014, Abbotsford, British Columbia. Sharing national stories of successful character initiatives including the Abbotsford City of Character story; providing resources to conference attendees with step-by-step guidance on how to start a character movement in your community; establishing a Character Canada Board of Directors to further develop the national vision. Learn more >>  Call for presenters >>

Character Education Partnership, National Forum on Character Education: Beyond Accountability; Inspiring Greatness. Oct 30 – Nov 2, 2014, Renaissance Hotel, Washington, DC. Learn more >>

See Calendar of Events >>

Invest Today in our Future . . .The Character Education of Young People!

I know you care about the character development of the children and young people in your community and nation. Whether you choose to make a one-time gift or sign up for monthly contributions, your support is vital for CEP’s ongoing work.


Volunteers Wanted

We are looking for volunteers who can help in the planning and participate in working groups for the 2014 Forum. Contact Becky Sipos if you would like to join the working group of volunteers.
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