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NATIONAL SCHOOLS OF

CHARACTER

("NSOC")

Founded in 1993, Character.org is the largest non-profit organization in the world committed to fostering effective character education in schools and communities. Character.org is a national coalition of educators, parents, organizations, community groups, and companies and is the nation’s leading advocate for improving the culture and social climate in schools. www.character.org

Operating since 1998, Character.org’s NSOC program is a non-competitive school improvement process that is open to any K-12 public, private or charter school in the U.S.

Schools and districts achieve the designation as an NSOC, only after a rigorous evaluation process in which they must demonstrate implementation of Character.org’s framework for successful character education known as the Eleven Principles of Effective Character Education.

To date, over 300 schools and districts have earned the NSOC designation. NSOC schools infuse character education into their curricula and cultures and find improved academic achievement, behavior, school culture, peer interaction, and parental involvement. Pro-social behaviors such as cooperation, respect, and compassion replace negative behaviors such as violence, disrespect, apathy, and underachievement. When these positive attitudes and behaviors are present, students are better able to commit themselves to their work, which paves the way for perseverance, diligence, and ultimately, increased academic achievement.

The following are selected statistics for NSOC:¹

ACADEMICS

  • Most of the 2011 NSOC made AYP (“Adequate Yearly Progress” as defined by the Federal No Child Left Behind Act and the US Dept. of Education based on standardized test scores).

    • 78% of the public schools recognized as 2011 NSOC made AYP in 2009-10, compared to 62% of public schools nationwide.

  • 100% of the 2011 NSOC reporting experienced an increase in state reading and math scores – or have passing rates above 90%.

    • A study by Oregon State University reported a 21% improvement on state reading tests and 51% improvement on state math tests.

  • Achievement gaps are narrowed.

    • In the large, diverse 2011 National Districts of Character, the percentage of students passing state math tests increased from 66% in 2003 to 87% in 2010. During this period, the percentage of African-American, Hispanic, and economically disadvantaged students passing state math tests increased by 33%. District officials report that the achievement gap is “shrinking on all assessments.”

BEHAVIOR AND SCHOOL CLIMATE

  • 87% of students attending 2011 NSOC reported in climate surveys that they felt safe in school or that bullying was rare (with 27 of the 44 NSOC reporting data in this category).

  • The average attendance rate at the 2011 NSOC was 95%, compared to 92.1% nationwide.

    • When character education programs included social emotional skills and character development, 15% less absenteeism was reported.

  • 89% of the 2011 NSOC reported that disciplinary referrals either experienced declines or had rates that were extremely low.

  • 90% of the 2011 NSOC reported that suspensions either experienced declines or had rates that were extremely low.

    • Elementary schools reported 70% fewer suspensions.

  • Nearly 100% of the students attending 2011 NSOC participated in service learning projects.

11 PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE CHARACTER EDUCATION

  1. The school community promotes core ethical and performance values as the foundation of good character.

  2. The school defines “character” comprehensively to include thinking, feeling, and doing.

  3. The school uses a comprehensive, intentional, and proactive approach to character development.

  4. The school creates a caring community.

  5. The school provides students with opportunities for moral action.

  6. The school offers a meaningful and challenging academic curriculum that respects all learners, develops their character, and helps them to succeed.

  7. The school fosters students’ self-motivation.

  8. The school staff is an ethical learning community that shares responsibility for character education and adheres to the same core values that guide the students.

  9. The school fosters shared leadership and long-range support of the character education initiative.

  10. The school engages families and community members as partners in the character-building effort.

  11. The school regularly assesses its culture and climate, the functioning of its staff as character educators, and the extent to which its students manifest good character.