Principle 10 Overview

PRINCIPLE 10:

The school engages families and community as partners in the character initiative.

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All adult members of the school community influence the character development of young people.

Successful character education initiatives engage families and community members as partners in the character building effort.

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Schools that reach out to families and community members and include them as partners in the character building effort benefits not only the school, but also the well-being of the entire community. These schools understand the value of communicating the purpose and plan for character education, and work to engage families and community members in conversation about the school’s character education effort. Schools of Character recognize that all adult members of the school community influence the character development of young people, and they actively recruit the help of the wider community (e.g., businesses, service organizations, municipalities, and the media) in supporting the character building effort. Principle 10 shows that schools advance their character education initiatives by forging partnerships with their families and the wider community.

Forging partnerships with parents and community requires three parts:

Engage

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Communicate

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Recruit

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School Examples

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Districts

Districts engage the spectrum of the community with particular focus on involvement of appropriate local government agencies, youth-serving organizations, and the business community.

Mantua Township Public Schools in Mantua, New Jersey uses a variety of methods to engage the entire community. Dr. Robert Fisciaro and his team are particularly fond of the Parents as Partner events. At the Parents as Partners events, two-way collaboration occurs. Insight and strategies that will help support the social and

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emotional growth of children are presented and discussed at these well-attended gatherings. The virtue lessons are shared to help them guide their children through difficult life situations while adhering to our core values. Some helpful parenting strategies included in these meetings are Collaborative Proactive Solutions, the Nurtured Heart Approach, and the Jesse Lewis Foundation “Choose Love” lessons.

 

Author Spreads Message of Love to Mantua Township Elementary School

Self-Reflection Questions

How involved are the parents in your school? Do they feel welcome? How do you individually and as a school communicate with students’ families and vice versa? What strategies and activities involve families in character education? What other ways might you consider trying to involve families?

What efforts are already under way to involve community members in your character initiative and in your school? What resources might your community members offer? What obstacles do you face engaging community members in your work and how can they be overcome?

Check for Understanding

1. Principal Jones was concerned about the lack of parent involvement in the school’s character initiative. He met with his staff to discuss his concern and create a plan for improvement in this area. Which of the following ways will best help his school to move forward?

2. Hayward Middle School’s Character Education Team was reviewing their character initiative using Character.org’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education. Their lowest rubric scores tended to be areas where the greater community should be involved. This was their list of ideas for community involvement in their initiative. Which one of these should they delete as they move to action?

Research that Supports Principle 10

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“How to teach kids the eight indispensable skills: self-confidence, self-awareness, communication, problem solving, getting along, goal setting, perseverance, and empathy—they’ll need for living confident, happy, and productive lives.”

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“With concrete examples drawn from the many families Dr. Lickona has worked with over the years, the book How to Raise Kind Kids will help you give and get respect, hold family meetings to tackle persistent problems, discipline in a way that builds character, and improve the dynamic of your relationship with your children while putting them on the path to a happier and more fulfilling life.”

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Authored by Lori Soifer