2015 National Forum on Character Education

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Join us as we address the challenges that you face as CONTACT.TARGET_TITLE_IN_SENTENCE with high-impact strategies and solutions from over 50 National Schools of Character and hundreds of other like-minded educators.

Explore a City of Character
We’re happy to be back in Atlanta for our 2015 Forum where a history of character perseveres. Take advantage of our workshops at the recently opened Center for Civil and Human Rights, or our exclusive tour of the Atlanta Aquarium and the College Football Hall of Fame.

Learn more >>

President’s Column
How Almost Losing My Job Led to More Inspired Teaching
Beckys_Pic_March_2009_3_web-resized-600By Becky Sipos

The principal came to my classroom door with the bad news, “Because enrollment has declined for next year, we have to make some cuts, and since you were the last hired, that means we have to let you go.” Devastating news, but I had heard this story before. In the early days of my teaching career...



Join Let It Ripple and Character.org for #CharacterDay, a global event with six free short films, resources, science, conversation, and community engagement that empower us to shape who we are and develop skills to flourish in the 21st century. Schools, nonprofits, families, companies, or any other group are all invited to participate. The films and materials are completely free on Character Day.

Some Highlights from Last Year: 

  • 11.9 Million Impressions on Twitter! Highlights included Twitter love from The White House and US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
  • 120 countries joined us
  • Over 1500 schools and organizations participated
  • We had a fantastic global virtual Q&A throughout the day.

Learn more and sign up >>

Promising Practices
Four Mouse Clicks.
By Dr. Dave Keller 

Promising PracticesThat’s it. Using just four simple mouse clicks, I went from the Character.org homepage to viewing 100 real-world examples of character education integrated into everyday classroom curriculum learning opportunities.

Specifically, I utilized the extensive Character.org Promising Practices database to find examples of Principle 6 of the 11 Principles of Effective Character Education. I could’ve easily asked to see examples from any of the other 11 Principles, but since April’s Essential Character emphasis is Principle 6, that’s the one I selected.

Read more >> 

Featured Lesson Plan
Art with a Cause

Discovery Elementary School

This lesson introduces students to the life work of Keith Haring, an artist who used a very simple playful style to carry a message of love, peace, and equality. Students learn how Keith Haring was an activist who stood for a cause.

Learn more >>

Become a Member
Character.org Membership Corner

Character.org would like to extend a warm welcome to the following new members:

Gregg Amore Eloisa De Jesus-Woodruff
Christine Hempsted Emilye Mobley
Lilian Mullane Debra Peterson-Smith
Grace Tennant Bernie Trilling

You have demonstrated your pride in character education, and we're glad to call you part of our family!

Interested in becoming a member?
Character.org members are kept up to date with the latest news and research. Members can stay abreast of best practices in character education and enjoy discounts on events, trainings and publications. 

Learn more >> 

Call for Nominations
Sanford N. McDonnell Lifetime Achievement Award

Sanford N. McDonnell Lifetime Achievement Award

Each year, Character.org honors one individual for his or her long and steadfast commitment to character education. The person so honored receives the prestigious “Sanford N. McDonnell Award for Lifetime Achievement in Character Education.” The award is named in honor of Sanford N. McDonnell, Chairman Emeritus of the McDonnell Douglas Corporation and Character.org. This award is Character.org’s highest honor. Deadline: Friday, May 29

Download guidelines and award criteria >>

  Schools of Character

Support Teaching Smart and Good 
Our Schools of Character program keeps growing. Your support keeps it going. 

Donate today >>

Professional Development

Professional Development

Over the next few months, Character.org will be conducting trainings in Durango CO, South Bend IN, Birmingham AL, and Washington DC. For additional information on these offerings, or to learn more about scheduling training events in your area, please contact Dr. Dave Keller at dave@character.org.

Additional training locations are currently under review, and we expect to announce specifics in the coming weeks.

To learn more about our training opportunities, or to access our existing archive of webinar training offerings, please visit the character.org website and look under the “Training” tab.

Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading

Zeroing out Zero Tolerance
The March issue of Atlantic offers an interesting article on how urban schools are eliminating zero tolerance policies in favor of more pro-social policies.

Where Have All The Teachers Gone?
Several big states have seen alarming drops in enrollment at teacher training programs. Why have the numbers fallen so far, so fast?

Testing Season
Resources on testing from Responsive Classroom
As testing season approaches, you may find some good ideas in this blog from Responsive Classroom. 

States raise awareness about Common Core test scores
As schools begin administering tests aligned with the Common Core State Standards, scores are expected to be lower than in previous years. This Ed Week article shows how officials in some states are working to educate parents and the community about the change.


Student Seeking Help Field Testing SAT Math Study Guide
Finian Lickona, a high school senior at Grossmont Middle College High School, and the grandson of Dr. Thomas Lickona, has developed an SAT Math Study Guide, available (free). He is seeking help to field-test it with high school students. Learn more >>

High School Teachers Sought for Achieving with Integrity Project
The School for Ethical Education is recruiting high school English and social studies teachers to participate in the Achieving with Integrity project. This is an ongoing study to strengthen student ethical functioning and reduce academic dishonesty through lessons integrated into existing content material. Learn more >>

Calendar Items
May 13, 2015
2015 National Schools of Character Announced at the National Press Club, Washington, DC.

Oct 23-24, 2015
Character Canada's conference in Abbotsford, B.C., Canada: Registration opened April 1. See details >>

June 25-26, 2015
The National School Climate Center in partnership with International Institute for Restorative Practices and the Winston Preparatory Schools present the School Climate Improvement: Policy, Practice and Leadership Development. What to do and how to do it? Held at The Winston Preparatory School, New York, NY. Learn more >>


The Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (ESEA) Reauthorization Bill
The Senate HELP Committee has released its bipartisan ESEA reauthorization bill. Read the bill summary >>

NCLB Update
Senate education committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) unveiled a bipartisan bill to rewrite the No Child Left Behind Act. Learn what's in the bill >>

The Biological and Psychosocial Effects of Peer Victimization
An ad hoc committee will conduct a consensus study that will produce a comprehensive report on the state of the science on peer victimization. Learn more >>

Earn a Certificate in School Leadership for Social-emotional Learning and Character Development
Are you a current or aspiring school leader who cares about social-emotional learning, character development and school culture and climate? Enrollment Open for SEL101, Starting April 26. Learn more >>

Grant and Funding Opportunities

Libri Foundation: Books for Children Grants
The Libri Foundation Books for Children Grants donate new, quality, hardcover children's books for small, rural, public libraries across the country. Deadline: May 1, 2015. 
See grant criteria >>

State Farm Good Neighbor Innovation School
YSA will award $5,000 grants to 20 K-12 public schools in the United States to support their efforts to create a culture of meaningful learning through service in their school by using YSA’s service onramp tools (Semester of Service, Classrooms with a Cause, Global Youth Service Day). Deadline: May 8, 2015.
See grant criteria >>

USGA/Alliance: Grants for the Good of the Game
The National Alliance for Accessible Golf (Alliance) and the United States Golf Association (USGA) believe that golf should be open to everyone and supports a wide variety of programs that create opportunities for individuals with disabilities to participate in the sport. Deadline: Rolling
See grant criteria >>

Fund for Teachers
The Fund for Teachers provides funds for direct grants to teachers to support summer learning opportunities of their own design. Deadline: varies by state
See grant criteria >>