Character Education Schools Award Winners

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Education (SOE) in partnership with the Wisconsin Character Education Partnership (WCEP) is pleased to announce the Wisconsin schools recognized in 2019 for their personal, creative successful initiatives integrating character education into the curriculum. SOE understands the value of WCEP’s mission to promote the intentional, proactive effort by public and private K-12 schools and school districts to instill in all Wisconsin’s students core universal ethical values such as integrity, honesty, fairness, responsibility and respect for themselves and for others. Character education enables these accomplishments.

Six schools win awards: one for becoming a National School of Character (NSOC) and five for Promising Practices as State Schools of Character.

Wisconsin schools participating in Character Education (CE) annually promote and succeed in doing something adults often fear to attempt – make the world a better place. CE is not a program; rather CE is a practice amongst the entire school community. The purpose of the practice is to improve the emotional, caring environment necessary for terrific academic achievement and opportunities to exercise becoming good citizens as the students grow up. Dedicated teachers, staff, eager students and their caring families purposefully team up to improve their worlds in all categories.

Yearly, some schools arrive at exceptional ideas. They are recognized statewide as Promising Practice Winners. A statewide panel judges each school’s idea to be so successful it deserves to be shared with others. The schools’ innovative practices exemplify the following basic principles that Schools of Character adhere to.

Those principles promoting core ethical and performance values as the foundation are from Character.Org Eleven Principles of Effective Character Education:

  • Define “character” comprehensively to include thinking, feeling and doing.
  • Use a comprehensive, intentional and proactive approach to character development.
  • Create a caring community.
  • Provide students with opportunities for moral action.
  • Offer a meaningful and challenging academic curriculum that respects all learners, develops their character and helps them to succeed.
  • Foster students’ self-motivation.
  • Have an ethical learning community that shares responsibility for character education and adheres to the same core values that guide the students.
  • Foster shared leadership and long-range support of the character education initiative.
  • Engage families and community members as partners in the character-building effort.
  • Assess school culture and climate, the functioning of its staff as character educators, and the extent to which its students manifest good character.

Here’s how winning schools around the state responded this year. SOE congratulates the following schools for their achievements.

National School of Character Category

Edgewood Elementary School (Greenfield) — Each year, Character.org certifies schools and districts at the national level that demonstrate a dedicated focus on character development, which has a positive effect on academic achievement, student behavior, and school climate. Meg Jones, principal of Edgewood, says “Character Education is a total way of approaching your schooling.” She says the school looks at behavior through the lens of character traits helping the child to understand if a character trait is present or not in their actions. This makes discipline more meaningful and logical to all when it is understood a trait is missing. Edgewood has, in the past, used a buddy system of older students helping younger ones thrive at school.

Promising Practices Category

College Park School (Greendale) — Book of the Month Literacy Connections
Using a Book of the Month selected to align with character goals allows for a shared experience for all teachers, staff, students and families.

Columbus Elementary School (Columbus) — Virtual All School Meeting
Sharing a common character education message by introducing the character trait of the day via a virtual all school meeting ensures this school finds time to work on character education.

Edgewood Elementary (Greenfield) – Inter-generational Buddy Bonding
Pairing fifth grade students with kindergarten students as “buddies” to work on projects is the foundation of creating a caring community in this school. Taking it one step further, these “buddies” then go to the nearby Senior Citizen center to visit their “Senior Buddies.” Students and seniors share time, reflections and learn about caring for others.

Necedah Elementary School (Necedah) — Cardinals Care Capsules
This is carried out during school and after school programs whenever students see others displaying the schools core values (Cardinal REDs Respectful Engaged, Dependable and Self-controlled). They write down names and behaviors then place who they saw and what trait they witnessed and place it in a capsule, one of many placed around the school.

Rockfield Elementary School (Germantown) — The Rockfield News
The Rockfield News is a weekly video announcement prepared by staff aligned with the character value being taught each month. Students deliver the news but also share their ideas and thematic inputs when working on the recording.

South Milwaukee High School (South Milwaukee) –Veteran’s Day Program
Students work all year for this special day for veterans including a reception and gifts for veterans using fund raiser money. The program has grown from 75 students to well over 200 students and the recent Veterans Day program honored 100 veterans.

Businessman and WCEP advocate Richard R. Pieper, Sr. who agrees with the Wisconsin Character Education schools’ consortium does not hesitate to say that many of these ideas could be gainfully introduced into the entire adult business world.

We are proud to announce their achievements. They will be honored at the Character Education Conference held at Alverno College on June 19-20, 2019.

“To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” ~ Teddy Roosevelt

“Intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character is the goal of true education.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

For more information about CE see the Wisconsin Character Education Partnership website.

For information to contact school leaders:

Pam Woodard, Chief Facilitator of WCEP
pamwoodard@yahoo.com