Schools of Character has been certifying schools for 20+ years based on their implementation of The 11 Principles of Effective Character. In that time, more than 800 National Schools of Character, State Schools of Character, Districts of Character,  Mexico Schools of Character and China Schools of Character have been certified. More than 3 million educators, students, parents and other community members have improved their lives and the lives of those around them by fostering character development through’s Schools of Character and resources.

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Why Apply?

A School of Character

In Schools of Character, adults embrace their critical role as models. Teachers work together as professionals — along with parents and community members as partners — to positively shape the social, emotional, and character development of the young people entrusted to them each day. Students in these schools feel safe, respected, and connected to those around them, allowing them to thrive academically and socially and be motivated to give back to their communities.

Happy Teachers

In a State School of Character, the teacher turnover rate is 4%, while the national average is 16%.


The dropout rate for a State School of Character is 3%, roughly half the national average.

Safe Students

88% of students in a School of Character feel safe in school, compared the national average of 59%.

LaVace Stewart Elementary

Culture Shift

Schools that commit to the Schools of Character process are never the same — they improve in every way. For certified Schools of Character, bullying declines, suspensions drop, grades improve, and the school becomes a place everyone where wants to be.


A School of Character designation has an impact on the entire community. Parents see the difference in their children and often become more involved in the success of their school.

Harrison Elementary School

Stakeholders Believe In It

Once educators and administrators see the outcomes of the Schools of Character process, they become fervent supporters and advocate of the program. Here are a few principals and superintendents who have been through and believe in the Schools of Character process.

Christopher Kelly

​Whippany Park High School

Joe Meloche

Cherry Hill Public Schools

Rene Rovtar

​Montville Township School District

Assess Yourself

I would suggest going through the process. The feedback is an invaluable tool in assessing and improving your character education program.

Aaron Wilken, Fox Middle School
Green Pines Elementary

Application Process

Resources & Guides

The Schools of Character application process is not an easy task. It requires hours of reflection, implementation, and most importantly, commitment. However, the end result is always worth the effort. To make the process simpler, we have compiled a list of must-read resources as you complete your application.

The 11 Principles of Character

Schools who receive recognition as a School of Character have successfully demonstrated that they have implemented the 11 Principles of Character framework.

To learn more about the framework, access the guide below.

¿Estás buscando los 11 Principios en español? Haz clic aquí


The 2020 Schools of Character application is closed. Stay tuned for updates on the 2021 application.

The application is now closed.

There will be an area at the end of the application where you can enter credit card information.

We don’t consider the School of Character designation to be an award rather a pathway to school improvement and a culture of character.

Try another browser if you encounter problems. We recommend you work on your application in a Word document as a back-up. Google Chrome has worked well for most when completing the application.

State Schools of Character will be announced in late January, and National Schools of Character will be announced in early May.

Everyone is different, but this is a very rigorous application process that involves getting input from several different stakeholders, and retrieving detailed demographic information. It’s a real team effort that could take well over a month. We strongly advise you review the application which is available year-round here.

Both State and National Schools of Character hold their designations for 5 years.



In each option, applicants have their application evaluated by an evaluator, and receives substantive feedback on the school’s progress. Payment is submitted at the end of the application.

Option Price
Mock Audit
State Review
National Evaluation
International Applicants*

* Application must be submitted in English. If school opts for a physical site visit, school must cover evaluator travel expenses.


The fee for districts can vary depending on the number of schools within the district. The process is the same for districts as it is for individual schools.

Schools Option Price
1 — 3
State Review
National Evaluation
4 — 12
State Review
National Evaluation
13 — 50
State Review
National Evaluation
50 — 100
State Review
National Evaluation

If your business office prefers submitting payment via Purchase Order, forward all PO documentation to Make sure there is a description listing what the PO is intending to purchase, what school or department this PO should be associated with (especially if your school is part of a large district with multiple schools) and to whom the corresponding invoice should be forwarded. There will be a $25 handling fee for purchase orders.


Take a look at the FAQ above to see if we’ve already answered your question. If you still have a question, we’d be happy to help! Please fill out the form below.

Get Started


The 2020 Schools of Character application is now closed. However, you may still fill out and submit a mock audit.

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