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Kansas honors 44 schools, districts for character development
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Hoisington Middle School is awarded a Promising Practices Award in Character Education for their annual Thanksgiving Food Drive. HMS Student Council sponsors an annual Thanksgiving Food Drive that is a service project for the entire school. HMS strongly believes in leading by serving others and this is a wonderful opportunity for the HMS community to come together to help the larger community. Each grade is provided a grocery cart to fill over the course of one week. As food items are collected they are tallied and each class is challenged to bring as many items as possible to support those less fortunate in the community. It is viewed as a friendly competition among each grade to see which grade will provide the most items. The competition aspect lends itself to unity among each grade, while the overall project promotes unity in the entire school. Once all items are collected, the grade that donated the most items is given the privilege of forming a human assembly line to fill the delivery truck with the donated items. The goal of the project is to be a service project from start to finish, focusing on the intrinsic value of giving and serving. HMS Student Council members then go to the local food bank to unload and stock the donated items.

Hoisington Middle School was honored on May 5 as one of just 44 Kansas schools and districts offering excellent character education that focuses on students’ social, emotional and character development.
Awards to these character-focused schools and districts were given at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic site in Topeka. The awards were given though the Kansas Schools of Character Recognition Program, and sponsoring organizations were the Topeka City of Character,, the Kansas State Department of Education, and the Brown v. Board site.
Preparing students for a challenging world means offering more than intellectual stimulation. Character education helps to meet the needs of the business community, for instance, which has called for more focus on skills like reliability, honesty and leadership. Character education is a proactive effort by schools, districts and communities to help students develop important core ethical (recognizing what’s right) and performance (doing what’s right) values such as caring, honesty, diligence, fairness, fortitude, responsibility, grit, creativity, critical thinking, and respect for self and others.
“From recent surveys, it is clear that business and industry want employees to be academically prepared for the positions that they are seeking. But, more importantly, they want employees that demonstrate dependability, persistence, and teamwork skills,” said Brad Neuenswander, interim commissioner at the Kansas State Department of Education. “The social, emotional, and character development programs and initiatives prepare our students with the skills necessary for both college and career readiness.”
Sue Kidd, Kansas Character Development Initiative coordinator, said “Kansas Standards for Social, Emotional and Character Development are used with students to develop life skills that help them become successful academically, ethically and socially.”
For more information about Kansas’s character development programs, contact Kidd at 785-865-9942 or