certificate for HPES for National School of Character
HPES students in a group
certificate for Walker for National School of Character
Four Walker students in a group

Two TCSS Schools Receive National Recognition for Commitment to Character Education

  • May 15, 2020

    On May 15, Character.org, a national advocate for character development in schools and communities, announced Huntington Place Elementary School and Walker Elementary School are both 2020 National Schools of Character. Only 84 schools across 15 states received this distinction.

    “Each of these schools and school districts has put in place a comprehensive approach to help their students understand, care about, and consistently practice the core values that will enable them to flourish in school, in relationships, in the workplace, and as citizens,” Dr. Arthur Schwartz, President of Character.org, said.

    The schools and school districts who apply must meet the rigorous standards articulated in Character.org’s 11 Principles Framework for Schools. Each school is evaluated by a team of trained educators and includes a site visit to assess how a school’s “shared values” are motivating students to do the right thing.

    “These schools and school districts serve as an exemplary model for all schools and districts across the nation,” Lori Soifer, who directs the Schools of Character program, said.

    “The educators at these schools are inspiring their students to treat all people with respect and dignity. They are teaching their students to be honest and trustworthy, to contribute their time and talents to the common good, and when necessary, to show the courage to stand up for what is right.”

    In a letter notifying HPES faculty and staff of the honor, HPES Principal Andrea Hamner thanked the educators for their commitment to their school community.

    “This is a testimony to your hard work and dedication to our students,” Hamner said in the announcement. 

    “You have always worked so hard for our students, but the past two months I have seen you go above and beyond to work hard to meet your students' needs. You have found so many creative ways to continue to connect with your children.”

    Walker Elementary Assistant Principal Ben White also thanked staff and parents for their dedication to character education.

    “We are honored that this commitment is being recognized by Character.org and are excited to continue in this pursuit of excellence for years to come!” White said.

    Earlier this year, both Huntington Place and Walker were selected as 2020 State Schools of Character.

    Both schools have partnered with The Hope Institute at Samford University to develop and implement their schools’ character education programs. In developing these programs, both HPES and Walker surveyed their school communities to determine their school’s core values. At Huntington Place, the Wildcat Way reinforces the school’s core values of kindness, respect, compassion, honesty, and responsibility. At Walker, the RAMS Way is respectful, accountable, motivated, and self-controlled. At both schools, these core values are everyday language and woven into all aspects of a student’s learning. Also at both schools, students, staff, and faculty become part of character education groups that go across grade levels and home rooms, to create a greater sense of community and new relationships within the schools.

    Character.org will honor the 2020 National Schools of Character during its next National Forum.

    Founded in 1993, Character.org is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. The organization’s mission is to provide the voice, visibility, and resources for educators to build nurturing and supportive school cultures that focus on core values and character strengths vital to student and school success.