Becky Sipos 

President’s Column
Farewell--The Case for Character Goes On

As I contemplate my retirement at the end of this month, I have been reflecting a lot about and the state of character today. As an organization, we have much to celebrate. Some notable numbers;

  • Largest group of National Schools of Character in our 2016 class
  • Significant growth in applicants for 2017 from 28 different states, 12 more than last year
  • Most participants ever in our National Forum 
  • Highest ratings ever for programming--both at the conference and in recent trainings (more than 90% out rated sessions a 4 or 5 out of 5)
  • Recent grants and donations are spurring new momentum and innovations. (Look for a redesigned and improved website in 2017.)

But beyond these statistics and rankings is something even more important, and that is the wonderful community we have become. We are bound together by a shared commitment to invest in the potential of young people so that they become ethical and engaged citizens. Read more >>

Call for Proposals 
2017 Forum on Character Education
Are you eager to share your character education experience with others? is looking for educators, researchers and community leaders who would like to present their ideas and best practices for developing young people of good character. We’re looking for interactive sessions to get our attendees engaged in the conversation and learn by doing rather than a strictly lecture-type format. Learn more >>
Our #KindnessChallenge continues until the end of December, and it has been very successful with lots of partners signing on and many terrific examples of kindness being shared. The #KindnessChallenge is all about encouraging people to keep kindness in mind during the holiday season and to engage in some random or intentional acts of kindness to brighten someone’s day or help someone in need in your family or community.

It’s not too late. We encourage you to participate by trying to do one kind act each day, or by sharing the kind acts of others through social media with the hashtag #KindnessChallenge. Here are some recent examples.

St Hope_USPS 
St HOPE Academy is participating in daily activities to promote kindness through the #KindnessChallenge. They recently shared a series of stories on Facebook. Students wrote notes of gratitude to their teachers and other school personnel throughout a recent school day. During staff circle time, the 40 staff members read over 600 letters of encouragement, gratitude and kindness. In addition, students at St HOPE have been recognized each day for acts of kindness individuals have done. Examples include volunteering at a senior center and sticking up for someone being teased. 

Penn Valley Elementary School participated in a service learning activity created by Student Council. The students collected items for five local police departments in appreciation for all they do. Donations were collected over a week's time. The entire student body then participated in creating bags for each department. Five families deliver the items to the station. The police thanked Penn Valley through social media and letters of gratitude

Don Early Childhood Learning Center 
Don Earl Early Childhood Center donated leftover cookies from a school event to the local police station, fire department, and food bank.  

Ready to get started? Use the sample posts below to let your followers know you’re part of the challenge:

“This December, I’m taking the #KindnessChallenge @Characterdotorg”

“I want to give a #KindnessChallenge shout out to _____________ for their kind act of _____________”
Schools of Character
We received 176 applications which is the most we’ve ever received except for 2009, which was the first year we announced we would select more than 10 schools. We received 185 applications that first year. The 2017 group include applications for 28 different states, including 11 where there is no state affiliate.  Nine applications are for District of Character, and 18 are schools seeking re-certification, showing they find the experience valuable.

These applications will now be evaluated at the state level (in states with a state coordinator) and at national for those applicants without a state coordinator, and 2017 State Schools of Character will be announced at the end of January.

Promising Practices
If your school or district has developed and successfully implemented a unique character practice, encourages you to apply for a Promising Practice. The 2017 Promising Practices application is still open and will remain open until February 15. We invite all of you to submit your great ideas. Learn more >> 
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Calendar Items

Character All-star Webinar Series 
January 26, 2016 | 4:30 EST
Methodologies that help mold students to become reflective, productive, ever-improving citizens

Presenter: Dr. Phil Brown, Senior Consultant for the National School Climate Center
Learn more >>

Save the Date -- Call to Character Gala 
March 7, 2017 | Army Navy Country Club will hold it's 3rd Call to Character Gala to bestow the honor of the American Patriot of Character Award.

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