• Character
  • Integrity
  • Trust
  • Relationships
  • Success

Select Initiatives

Buffalo Public School District’s Character Development Initiative

CITRS and Character Counts! have partnered to implement a customized character development initiative for the Buffalo Public School District (BPSD) based on Character Counts’ 5.0 Model Standards. This initiative involves 22 schools in the City of Buffalo. The long-term goal is to aid in the development of students for educational advancement, success in the workplace and becoming ethical, compassionate citizens. The short-term goals are to create a safe, healthy, and secure environment within each school and improve students’ academic performance, behavior, character traits, social emotional learning, and interpersonal skills.

The three-year initiative is supported locally by three Mentors/Coaches in Buffalo, three members of the CITRS staff located in Philadelphia, and three members of the CHARACTER COUNTS! national staff.


The BPSD serves nearly 34,000 students at 60 facilities. Its mission is to ensure that “every student will have the confidence, knowledge, thinking skills, character and hope to assume responsibility for her/his life and contribute to the lives of others.” Teachers and administration at the 22 schools involved in this initiative have been working diligently, along with Mentor/Coaches, to integrate CC! into schools and students’ lives as seamlessly as possible.

To learn more about BPSD, visit: http://www.buffaloschools.org/

The Independence Mission Schools Character Development Initiative

CITRS is partnering with Character Counts! (CC!), creators of the nation’s most tried and proven values-based student development systems, to provide a character development program to the Independence Mission Schools (“IMS”). This organizational wide initiative includes all 15 IMS elementary schools located in Philadelphia’s most underserved areas. In working with the IMS headquarters and all of the schools, the goal is to develop a climate of excellence and a wide range of academic, social, emotional and character traits, values, attitudes and skills in students. Placing a central emphasis on the importance of relationships and a growth mindset, CITRS applies an innovative on-the-ground mentoring, coaching, and training model, including the Strengths Discovery Program for all constituents, that guides the IMS network in fully implementing CC!. CITRS’ role is pivotal and dynamic in implementing a successful CC! program.

CITRS creates a monthly Newsletter that provides specific ideas to make sure that “character counts” at the IMS schools as well as a special section, Spotlight on ‘Character in Action’, which highlights best practices from various schools in the IMS network.  There is also content for continuing professional growth related to the integration of Character Counts!. See Character Counts Newsletter: May-June 2017.


Serving almost 5,000 students and achieving remarkable results at half the cost of comparable public schools, IMS consists of 15 independent, private Catholic grade schools (Pre-K through 8th grade) in the City of Philadelphia. IMS’ mission is to provide sustainable, affordable, high-quality Catholic education to children of all faiths in Philadelphia’s most underserved urban neighborhoods. IMS is dependent on the generosity of private donors for support. To learn more about IMS please visit http://independencemissionschools.org/

University of Pennsylvania

CITRS is partnering with the Character Counts! (CC!) to serve the University of Pennsylvania’s Athletic Department in a consulting and advisory capacity. From conducting surveys, to advising senior administrators, to meeting with varsity-level coaches, to strategic planning and character-related professional development, CITRS/CC! is helping PENN Athletics to become a national model of “excellence in character” for Division I sports programs.

New York Junior Tennis and Learning

CITRS is the Character Education provider for New York Junior Tennis and Learning (NYJTL). Serving 75,000 young people throughout the Five Boroughs of New York City, NYJTL is one of the City’s largest youth serving organizations. CITRS provides organizational consulting, professional development, curriculum development and support, and character-related resources to ensure that NYJTL lives out its mission – i.e., “to develop the character of young people through tennis and education for a lifetime of success on and off the court”. The Strengths Discovery Program is implemented for all levels of management. The strengths based leadership approach is a structured, guided process for integrating an organization’s best resources – human capital, to build teams that properly leverage individual employees’ talents. Currently CITRS is working closely with NYJTL in their application to be one of the nation’s first certified National Youth Organizations of Character. To learn more about NYJTL please visit http://nyjtl.org/

Pennsylvania Character Consortium

CITRS is the founding member of the Pennsylvania Character Consortium (PCC). PCC is comprised of leading character educators and experts from many states and is advocating for comprehensive social and emotional character standards to be added into Pennsylvania’s Core Academic Standards.

Global Advocacy

CITRS is working closely with Character.org in Washington, DC to advocate for Comprehensive Character Development throughout schools and organizations the world over. Recognizing that “Character is not another item on the plate; it is the plate”, CITRS is helping Character.org to reach new and diverse audiences including (but not limited to) afterschool and youth-serving organizations, businesses, the military, government, higher education and universities, professional sports, and the non-profit sector. To learn more about Character.org please visit http://character.org/

Character Daily APP

CITRS and partner, Character Counts!, have developed Character Daily APP to support the teacher in their efforts to teach character to their students. Character Daily delivers character development content featuring the Character Counts! framework. Character Daily is comprehensive and dynamic, at your fingertips and simple to use. Robust content is quickly accessed and provided in multiple forms, including the “daily brief lesson, daily inspirational quote, and daily student positive behavior recognition”, etc. Teachers can track their progress daily as they and their students are challenged to grow with strong character. Schools can create a ‘universal character’ language – where all the faculty and staff are on the same page with what students are learning. Teachers can easily focus on a unique lesson each day and connect these lessons to the classroom.