Promising Practices

Before Applying

Promising Practices should adhere to the criteria embodied in these questions:

Is the Practice innovative, noteworthy, or significant* for the advancement of good character in the school, district, sports organization or team, and/or organization?

Is the Practice proactive for developing good character and/or decreasing poor character?

Does it enhance, or increase, understanding of the 11 Principles in the community?

Does it build momentum for schools that are working toward being a Community Of Character or continue momentum for those that already are Community Of Character?

Can you explain in detail how your Practice has  enhanced your community’s culture of character and how it is specifically tied to one (or two) of the 11 Principles?

*The Practice is innovative, noteworthy, or significant for your community and to your knowledge not simply replicated “as is” from another model.

Be prepared for these aspects of the application:

Character limits – Spaces and special characters are included in the character limits. Text that exceeds the character limits will not be included.

While we welcome applications from outside the United States, please note that at this time we can only evaluate applications written in English. Please respond to the narrative questions in English.

You will be asked to upload a photo of your practice in action. If you do not have a photo that represents your practice, you can upload a photo of your school or organization. If your photo includes youth, be sure to follow relevant policies for releasing photos since this photo may appear on’s website, in publications and in the recognition ceremony should your practice be selected.

Please note that contact information and overview information entered in this application may appear on’s website and in publications if your practice is selected as a National Promising Practice.

You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish until you push the “submit” button at the end of the application. Once an application has been submitted, it cannot be edited. You may, however, create new applications for other practices. A school, district or organization may submit multiple applications for different practices, although no more than two will be selected in a given year.

The Evaluation Process

Promising Practices applications are evaluated and selected according to the following criteria.

Uniqueness: Although a given practice may be new to a particular school or local area, it may not be unique nationwide. Many wonderful and effective practices (such as mentoring programs, service clubs, Veterans recognition, or leadership training) are sometimes not selected because they are not unique or there are many such practices submitted for consideration in a given year. Many successful applications include evidence of how a campus customized these programs to their campus and/or implemented the practice in a particularly creative or unique way.

Specificity: is looking for distinct programs or practices that may be replicated, not descriptions of a school’s entire character education focus or initiative. Similarly, mere implementation of a commercial or professional character development program or product would not normally meet the criteria for a Promising Practice (this would essentially infer formal endorsement of that program in such cases, there should be sufficient evidence that the school personalized or supplemented the program to the extent that it would meet the criteria for a Promising Practice for that individual campus).

Evidence of Impact: The application should contain sufficient evidence of impact on participants. Some practices may hold promise for the future but have not yet demonstrated sufficient evidence of impact.

11 Principles: Practices must be in keeping with the 11 Principles. For example, for Principle 5, community service projects will normally not be selected if they do not include the components of service learning (student leadership, connection to curriculum, and reflection). Similarly, even though “caught being good” or other student recognition programs may be effective or well-loved in a given school, is looking for practices that do not excessively single students out for recognition or give students material or extrinsic rewards in order to best satisfy the spirit and intent of Principle 7.

Clarity of narrative: There needs to be enough detail in the narrative responses for evaluators to judge the effectiveness of the practice.

For Districts: District submissions should include sufficient evidence of a district-level initiative including how district-level activities, policies, or direction enabled or enhanced the practice. It should not merely be an articulation of individual school efforts within the district (in such cases, it would be more appropriate for those individual campuses to apply on their own behalf).

Application Questions

For your reference, the following questions will be asked on the application.

Type of Promising Practice
 (School, District, University or Organization)

Contact Information

Name of School, District or Organization


Grade Level

Has this entity submitted a Promising Practice application before? 
(If ‘yes’ you will be asked to list past Promising Practices if known)

Practice Name

The Practice implements the following Principles… (you will be asked to check up to 2 principles)

The Practice fits under the following topic(s)… (you will be asked to check up to 3 topics)

Enter a one-sentence description of your practice 

Enter a one-paragraph description of your practice 

Upload a digital photo of your practice in action. 

How have you implemented your practice in your community? 

How does your specific practice contribute to character development? 

What impact is your practice having on your community?

Submission Process does not give more than two designations to any one school or district applicant in a given year. Application fee is $100 per application. If paying by purchase order, there is an additional $25 per application administrative fee. The application deadline is March 13, 2020 midnight EST.

< Return to the Promising Practices page.