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LA PLATA, Md. (June 20, 2011) -- The Maryland Center for Character Education (MCCE) recently named Eva Turner Elementary School as a 2011 Maryland State School of Character. Thomas Stone High School was also named a 2011 School of Character Honorable Mention recipient. The program recognizes schools that demonstrate an outstanding school climate and academic performance.
Turner is one of three schools in Maryland to be selected for the state honor and was also eligible for a National School of Character award. This is the second year that Turner was named a State School of Character for their focus on character education. Each year, the awards program honors schools as State Schools of Character, Honorable Mention recipients or with an Emerging School of Character award.
Stone received the state honor in 2009 and was named an Emerging School in 2010. Criteria for the selection of schools include examples of comprehensive character education initiatives that are implemented in the school community and that demonstrate a commitment to creating a positive learning environment.
The character education program at Turner focuses on three rules, or the three R’s, for students to follow – respect, responsibility and the right to learn. Each month, Turner focuses on a different character trait and students are taught weekly character lessons. Students earn weekly character checks for displaying the three R’s and can use them to purchase items on the school’s Tiger cart, which contains items from pencils and stickers to candy and small toys.
Another component of the character education program at Turner involves positive recognition. Students are celebrated for their efforts, which include naming hallway heroes for students who demonstrate respect in the hallways, and holding monthly character education assemblies with quarterly incentives. Students are also encouraged to participate in the community and host food drives, collect coins to benefit the American Cancer Society and coordinate schoolwide recycling efforts.
Stone incorporated a “Cougar Pride” program at the school that focuses on a character word of the month, such as perseverance, unity, integrity, service, citizenship and caring. Teachers provide vocabulary lessons throughout the month to encourage students to understand the meaning of the character word. Students in the multimedia classes also create public service announcements to air on the morning news that highlight the character word of the month. Additionally, parents are notified of the word of the month and are encouraged to use the trait with their children at home.
Both schools will be recognized in the fall for their character education programs by the Maryland Center for Character Education (MCCE). The Maryland Schools of Character awards program is sponsored collaboratively through the MCCE, the Character Education Partnership and the Maryland State Department of Education.
For more information on the MCCE, visit http://www.mdctrcharacter.org/.
Source: Charles County Public Schools