Positive character development in our schools is not a nice add-on in the curriculum – it is a crucial aspect of a quality school. We believe that a school must cultivate a culture of character in order to be a successful learning community.
First and second year schools report that much of their character efforts focus on helping students behave appropriately in school, and developing caring, trusting relationships among students and staff. Our more mature schools continue to focus on behavior and discipline, but also emphasize citizenship, service, leadership, and correlating positive character to success in school and in life.
Positive character development does not end when a child leaves elementary school. Forming a virtuous character is a central part of the educational experience for every student who attends an Imagine school. We have developed an Imagine Schools Moral Foundations high school curriculum, and we intend for every student to pass the Moral Foundations course before graduating from an Imagine high school.
Nationally, Imagine Schools is now in its sixth year in sponsoring a National Character Essay Contest. This contest aims to recognize young writers who understand the importance of living lives of character, as well as to help integrate character into the academic curriculum. In 2012, 50 Imagine campuses conducted a character essay contest – a dramatic increase from 33 participating schools in 2009. The national judges read hundreds of essays, which were submitted as school winners from among thousands of student essays written in grades 3-12 and judged at the school level. Read the winning essays and notable quotes!
In June 2012, the Character Education Partnership recognized 9 Imagine schools with “Promising Practices” awards for “implementing unique and specific strategies in character education.” The winners included:
1) Imagine Bella Academy (Crucial Catch);
2) Imagine Academy of Environmental Science and Math (The Depth of Character Data and IAESM Rocket Pride);
3) Imagine East Mesa (Intramural Sports Program and Victory Jog for Perfect Attendance);
4) Imagine Great Western Academy (Imagine Great Western “Bear Buddies”)
5) Imagine Harrisburg Pike Community School (Data Driven Decisions and Character Education)
6) Imagine Madison Avenue (TNT is Blowing Up Character at Imagine Madison Avenue)
7) Imagine School at Town Center (Imagine Town Center Stomps Out Name Calling)
8) Imagine School at Evening Rose (Character Makeover and Character Car Chat Cards)
9) Imagine South Lake (World Wednesdays)