After my post on RAGBRAI, Rich Puppione, now retired from the Pleasanton School District, reminded me that one of the features of this year’s National Forum is a site visit to Pleasanton, California. 

Here’s a community where commitment to character permeates everything they do. Four schools in the district have been recognized with National Schools of Character awards, and the school district was named a National District of Character. The mayor, city council, and Chamber of Commerce have also adopted the same core values, or expected behaviors, as the school district has. It truly makes for a community of character.

Puppione writes:

The City of Pleasanton, Pleasanton Unified School District and the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce actively participate in a Community of Character program that encourages people to work together to ensure that individuals and families are strong, homes and streets are safe, education is effective, businesses are productive, and citizens care for one another.

Following the principles CEP advocates and serving as the leading resource for the Pleasanton Program people and organizations in Pleasanton are integrating character education into their schools and communities.

Highlights of the Program include:

  • Autonomy/school plans/committees
  • District Committee
  • Shared Vision
  • Embedded in the curriculum
  • School Newsletters
  • School Brochure
  • Shared Lessons
  • Evaluations
  • City Government Participation
  • Chamber of Commerce Participation

The effort has permeated the entire community. A list of the expected behaviors hangs in city hall as well as in every school in the district. 

The mayor begins each town council meeting by reminding all those present that they are to use the Expected Behaviors in their interactions with one another. Businesses pledge to support the Expected Behaviors and display their signed pledge on their premises. Clergy preach the about the Expected Behaviors at worship. Every month, the Rotary Club recognizes a teacher who exemplifies the behaviors. A Character Education Coalition gives visibility to the program and honors an individual who has exemplified a certain expected behavior.

A recognizable unifying logo banners displayed at several key locations (including schools, businesses, and City facilities) promoting each character trait.

Register now for the conference and to experience this wonderful site visit to see effective character in action.