Essential Character Newsletter                                                           June 2014

Summer is starting, and everything is heating up at CEP!
In this issue of Essential Character:

  • 315 New Promising Practices
  • New Schools of Character Director
  • National Forum "Early Bird" rate expires soon
  • Contest Opportunity with the LEGO Foundation
  • Much more...
Johnson Elementary School 
Promising Practices in Character Education  Announced for 2014
Hundreds of effective strategies that develop good character in young people are recognized.

The Character Education Partnership (CEP) has announced that it will award 315 Promising Practices to schools, districts, and youth-serving organizations from across the United States as well as from Canada, China, Greece, and Mexico.

This year’s winning practices include unique anti-bullying programs, creative ways to integrate character and academic subjects, effective strategies for developing student leadership, and activities that build community – within the school and beyond. Read more >>

Forum video thumbnail
See what Educators are
saying about the Forum.

21st National Forum on Character Education
Beyond Accountability - Inspiring Greatness
October 30 - November 2 in Washington, DC 

  • Discover fresh ideas, field-proven strategies and a network of passionate professionals from around the world.
  • Learn about creating a caring community, school safety, bullying prevention, leadership strategies and much more.
  • The conference features inspiring keynotes, workshops school site visits and more than 50 breakout sessions.

Early Bird rate expires June 30th!
Register Now!

Sheril Morgan, Director - Schools of Character 
New Schools of Character Director for CEP             
The Character Education Partnership (CEP) is pleased to announce the hiring of Sheril Morgan as its new director of schools of character. Morgan hails from Muskogee, Oklahoma, and is an award-winning educator who was recently named Muskogee Public Schools Teacher of the Year. Before accepting the position with CEP, she was Co-coordinator for Oklahoma Schools of Character.

In her role as the Schools of Character Director, Morgan will manage a national school improvement program for schools that wish to improve academics, student behavior, and school climate through comprehensive character education. Read more >> 

Rebecca Sipos, Interim President & CEO 
Message from the President
Summer Reading
By Rebecca Sipos
Now that I am out of the classroom and working year-round for CEP, I no longer enjoy a long summer break. But the start of June still puts me in summer reading mode. I always try to find time for some fun “beach reads” as well as some time to catch up on some heavier tomes. This summer I’m looking at some of the authors who will be coming to our Forum.

Our Friday luncheon at the Forum will feature three authors sharing their personal stories behind the books they write. I thought I’d start my reading with their books . . . Read more >>
Congressional Briefing, New Bill to Support Social-Emotional Learning
CEP staff attended a congressional briefing sponsored by Committee for Children and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) (watch the briefing) that focused on effective social-emotional learning programs in all stages of the educational system from preschool through college.
Contest Opportunity

Re-Imagine Learning Challenge
As part of a three-year partnership with Ashoka, the LEGO Foundation has pledged more than $200,000 to challenge prizes alone. Enter today and help us learn about your vision for education in the 21st century! Deadline: June 25, 2014 Learn more >>

Dr. Russ Sojourner  
Farewell from Schools of Character Director

Dear Friends,

By the time you read this, I will have already assumed my position as President of The Classical Academy, the largest charter school system in the state of Colorado.  I don’t wish to bore you with long drawn out goodbyes and teary farewells, but I do want you to know how much I’ve appreciated working at CEP for the past two years, joining with you as we’ve fought the good fight, done the good work, and spread the positive message of character education in this country and across the globe.  There is no more noble mission than ours – helping students be strong enough to do the right thing.  I’m honored and blessed to have worked alongside such passionate, dedicated, and caring individuals, schools, districts and communities – those that focus on what’s most important for our children and our future.  Thank you for your help, support, love and commitment.  Keep up the great work, and from afar I look forward to helping Sheril Morgan and the rest of the CEP staff as they (and you) continue to change our world for the better.  God bless you all.

Russ Sojourner

Grants & Resources

School Climate Transformation Grant—State and Local Educational Grants
Inviting Applications for New Awards for Fiscal Year 2014. Application Deadline Date: June 23, 2014. See details >>

School Justice Collaboration Program: Keeping Kids in School and Out of Court
The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is partnering with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to implement a multidisciplinary initiative to improve school climates . . . See details >> All applications are due by 11:59 p.m. eastern time on July 21, 2014.

A Guide to Federal Education Programs That Can Fund K-12 Universal Prevention and Social and Emotional Learning Activities
The Center on Education Policy and the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools created this user-friendly guide that highlights 15 federal elementary and secondary education programs where the statutory language or the regulations/guidance that accompanies a program appear to permit funds to be used to support universal prevention programs and social and emotional learning initiatives. The guide also provides examples of schools, districts, and state education agencies that have successfully supported their prevention programs with federal education dollars.  Access the guide >>

Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive
The U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) partnered together to launch Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! – a National initiative to encourage developmental and behavioral screening for young children.
Learn more >>

The Kid's Guide to Working Out Conflicts
Some of you may be familiar my book, The Kid's Guide to Working Out Conflicts. Well, I'm currently working on a new book for middle school educators on preventing and addressing bullying and conflict. Along with contributor, Christa Tinari, and Free Spirit Publishing, I’ll be running a national survey of middle school students, counselors, and teachers. We want to hear the voices of kids from your school, along with your own, when it comes to these issues.
Participating educators will receive a $75.00 gift certificate for books and materials from Free Spirit Publishing, along with a copy of our new book when it is released. The survey doesn’t need to be administered until next October, but we’re putting together our participant list now.

Please let us know if you'd like to participate. You can reach me at Thanks so much!

From Edutopia
Teaching Grit: How to Help Students Overcome Inner Obstacles
Teach students how to work with their emotions.

By Vicki Zakrzewski

From Teaching Tolerance Blogs and Articles: Classroom Practice

Lights, Camera, Social Action!
Documentary films not only expose students to distant or untold stories, but, as a genre, they represent a long tradition of people with limited power and resources making noticeable social change. And, in the era of Common Core adoption, documentaries can function as informational texts that extend students’ critical literacy skills and encourage them to connect to social justice themes, possibly by making films of their own.

 Join Character Education Partnership
BENEFIT MORE in your quest to strengthen the character education of young people everywhere.  Become a member today >>
Invest Today in the Character Education of Young People!
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