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USD 431 continues emphasis on character education at HHS
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HOISINGTON — Hoisington High School will continue its efforts with character education that began in 2010-11 this next school year. Character education is common in elementary schools, but the district will continue to teach good character in high school.

A committee of high school staff members has been working together to put the program in place. They have received training in this area and will train the rest of the staff.

A survey of the school culture was taken to identify strengths and weaknesses. The character information will be individualized for the district.

"The social and emotional environment is as important as academics," said Principal Meg Wilson. The committee is working on ideas on how to integrate character education into every day.

"It has to be intentional," she said.

The program will begin with the freshman who will meet once per week to discuss strengths, needs and problem solving. One of the first areas they will concentrate on is respect and responsibility.

They will also learn about dealing with stress and knowing personal stressors. One of the major stressors is constant media, said Wilson.

She is finding this generation wants to do something for others. "This high school population is very service oriented," said Wilson. "We’re finding more and more youth wanting to do service. A lot of them have heart and energy"

According to the Character Education Partnership, there are 11 principles of effective character education.

They are:

•Promote core value such as caring, honesty, fairness, responsibility and self-respect along with support performance values such as diligence, a strong work ethic and perserverance for the basis of good character.

•Character includes thinking, felling and behavior. Students learn to develop pro-social behaviors, communicating feelings, active listening and helping skills.

•Character education is a comprehensive, intentional and proactive approach. A comprehensive approach uses all aspects of schooling as opportunities for character development.

•Character education creates a caring school community.

• Provides students with opportunities for moral action.

•Includes a meaningful and challenging academic curriculum.

•Strives to foster self-motivation.

•Engages the school staff.

• Fosters shared moral leadership such as a character education committee.

•Engages families and community members as partners in the character-building effort.

•Assesses character and progress of the school educators.

Wilson is involved with several state and national character education boards.