How Does Character Education Connect to the Common Core? led by Kristie Fink and Karen Geller
Character Education creates a culture of excellence and a foundation for success in teaching the new Common Core standards, which focus on rigor, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving and writing as part of the 21st century skill set students need for college, career and civic readiness. In this discussion, participants will explore ways to provide teaching and learning strategies that strengthen empathy, teamwork, perspective taking, speaking and listening skills, and more. Materials will be provided!
In this discussion participants will consider how to flatten the authoritarian nature of schools. Rather than a top-down, stifling environment, schools can be places of empowerment. Participants will discuss ways to share the power, build servant leaders, flatten the governance structure, and create democratic schools where everyone flourishes.
Why is Character Education an Essential Part of Academic Achievement? led by Scott Taylor
Using Crestwood Elementary School as a jumping off point, this discussion will focus
on the marriage between character education and academics as two mutually-supporting forces. Crestwood Elementary school finds data collection and reflection to be at the center of this connection—how have you cultivated a culture of character and achievement at your school?
What are the Challenges and Opportunities of Digital Media for Character Education? led by Rebecca Randall
Are your students prepared to use new technologies responsibly? This discussion will focus on how today’s media environment affects kids’ socio-emotional development. Participants will explore how shifts in digital media offer both perils and possibilities for kids, covering topics such as cyberbullying, online privacy management, and overall Internet safety. Participants will also discuss ways to prepare today’s youth to be digital citizens of good character—how to be responsible and respectful in using digital media to communicate, collaborate, and connect with others.
How Do We Develop Empathy and Reduce Bullying? Led by Michele Borba
In light of recent highly-publicized tragedies, much attention has been focused on
anti-bullying strategies. What has worked or not worked for your school? This session will address strategies to go beyond tackling one issue, aiming for a safe and respectful environment for students at all times.
Why is Character Education an Effective Tool for Transforming School Climate? Led by Jonathan Cohen and Phil Brown
This discussion will focus on the importance of educational leadership in schools’ reform efforts. Participants will consider the range of challenges those school leaders face that are invested in character education/school climate reform efforts. This session
will explore the varied forms that leadership can take, including students, parents and teachers as well as administrators. We will identify and discuss strategies and tools that support classroom, building and district leaders mobilizing the whole school community in ways that support the 11 principals of character education.
How Can We Increase Self-Motivation? Led by Hal Urban and Tracy Gaskins
Character is often defined as “doing the right thing when no one is looking.” Participants will discuss ways to foster student understanding without encouraging extrinsic motivation in the form of punishment or rewards. Some schools are mandated to use Positive Behavior (Intervention) Supports—how does that fit with the goals of effective character education? Are the two ideologies mutually exclusive?
How Can We Best Develop Leaders of Integrity? led by Frank Keating and Arthur Schwartz
George Washington said, “Few men have virtue enough to withstand the highest bidder.” Stephen Berglas, author of The Success Syndrome, believes those who
achieve great success in life but lack a bedrock of good character are destined for disaster. Sadly, we see many examples of leaders who lack character and how their fatal flaw results in disasters that often ruin the lives of others. This interactive discussion will focus on strategies that can be used to help develop future leaders of integrity for our communities, nation and world.
How Does Parent and Community Engagement Play an Essential Role in Effective Character Education? led by Eileen Santiago
Many schools struggle to gather the support of an increasingly diverse group of parents and community stakeholders in ways which can support not only the academic success of students, but our goal to promote good character and citizenship. How can schools help parents navigate these often turbulent waters? Participants in this discussion will explore how addressing the needs of parents can enrich children’s education and support the efforts of the school to strengthen good character and citizenship. Also, come learn how a quality character education initiative at your school can also become a vehicle for bringing the surrounding community into the fold. This discussion will provide a framework for conceptualizing various levels of family engagement and developing meaningful parent programs and activities.