Screen Shot 2012 11 03 at 6.46.53 PMThis afternoon the National Forum on Character Education was celebrated the 20 public schools, 3 private schools, 1 charter school, and 1 school district who became National Schools of Character this year. In a May press release, Lara Maupin stated that “These schools have built strong communities that bring people together around shared goals. Nobody feels alone or unwelcome in these schools. Adults are all on the same page about what’s important and, as a result, kids thrive.”

Recently, CEP’s Katie Hood interviewed several 2012 National Schools of Character, and here are several of their responses to the question: Why do you do character education? 

“The bottom line is, our society needs it. Character education helps to build morally responsible adults. Our kids spend an enormous amount of their childhood lives in our classrooms. It only makes sense that character education needs to be embedded [in] the school. ~ Tina Basler, Principal, Plattin Primary School

“Character education is critical in the development of the whole child. If we don’t take on this responsibility, then our school, neighborhoods, and communities will suffer. The key to our nation’s success depends on the character of all of us.” Dr. Stephen Burnham, Principal, Southern Middle School

“As a teacher, I know that academics are important, but teaching students to be good citizens is equally, if not more, important. Giving students the desire to make the world a better place ensures that our future is bright!” Rebecca Smith, Teacher, Shades Cahaba Elementary School

“We do character education to instill within our students the moral fiber to serve them [for] a lifetime.” Dr. Patricia Zissios, Principal, Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy

“We don’t do character education. It is inside us. It is who we are. It is what we are. It’s our very essence and core, from which we build and do everything else.” Dr. Julie Sperry, Principal, Brentwood Middle School

“Character education is an essential part of life. How can you find peace, happiness, and empathy toward others without character education?…I know it makes a difference for the children and families in Moncks Corner, South Carolina, and therefore it can make a difference in any place, at any time. Character education simply makes the world a better place, and that is why I live it every day.” Tracy Gaskins, Principal, Berkeley Elementary School

“Character education gives students the necessary tools that they will be using more frequently than those that they learn from academic subjects. It also helps students to [awaken] the gift within them, the virtues and values that people intrinsically have. Character education is not an ‘add on’; it’s a ‘hand’s on!’” Maria Cristina Alvarez, Librarian, Colegio Radians 

“We teach character education because we aim to teach the whole child. To be successful in life, you have to have strong morals [and] values and understand the value of helping…others.” Matthew DeVoll, Principal, Blessed Sacrament Catholic School

“Character education helps to create a culture and climate within a school that forms the foundation [for] everything else. Character education is the fabric of our school. It is good for students, staff, and families. It provides all of us with lifelong skills. [It] allows us to think beyond ourselves, to deepen our critical thinking skills, to grow, learn, and develop without fear.” Stephanie Valleroy, Principal, Northview High School

For more information about National Schools of Character and how schools can improve through high-quality character education, watch the video Schools of Character: A Roadmap to Excellence