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This Month's Best Practice

Each Month the Maryland Center for Character Education at Stevenson University (MCCE@SU) picks one of the Best Practices from a Character Education award winning school to share with you.

DECEMBER

This month's Best Practices is from an award winning school from 2015-2016.

 

BEST CHARACTER EDUCATION PRACTICES

 

School: Catonsville High School

Address: 421 Bloomsbury Ave., Catonsville, MD 21228
Principal: Matthew Ames
E-Mail: mamaes@bcps.org

Phone: 410-887-0808

 

Character Ed. Contact: Eric Eiswert

E-Mail: eeiswert@bcps.org

 

Title of Best Practice: Be. Do. Create. Your Best

 

Primary Principles Emphasized: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,10, and 11

Objective(s):

To educate, recognize, and empower students in developing positive character traits which will allow them to transform their world and better society.

 

Description:

The Be. Do. Create. Your Best initiative was created 5 years ago by a group of teachers, administrators, and students to emphasize and reward habits of character. Based on a comprehensive survey of our students they did not feel character traits were emphasized enough and they did not feel connected to the school. After many meetings, surveys, and reviews of other character programs we created the Be. Do. Create. Your Best program. The programs four components are rewarding acts of character, academic achievement, creating lasting change in the school and promoting Senior leadership skills. The school invested in small rewards to recognize acts of character, academic achievement and leadership and through banners, posters, and shirts promotes the motto of Be. Do. Create. throughout the building, letting the community know what we are about. This character initiative sets out behavioral expectations and rewards students for demonstrating them every day. Through the Create Your Best component of the program and the Comet Senior Leader program, students are empowered to be part of creating our character goals and initiatives not just emulating them.

 

1) Be Your Best- (addresses principles 1,2,5, and 11)- Be your Best is a reward and acknowledgement program aimed at recognizing students who show character in their words and actions. These actions can be large or very small but show concern for others and an ability to put others before themselves.


Each teacher receives Be Your Best tickets (5-10) at regular intervals. Teachers are to write their name on the back of each ticket and hand those tickets to students who they witness “being their best”. Students then turn those tickets into the cafeteria for a free treat and the student is then eligible to win a larger monthly prize.


Examples of why you would give a student a Be Your Best ticket:

• Student picks up papers another student accidently dropped
• Student assists a student new to class in getting make-up work and supplies
• Student turns in a phone found on the floor
• Student holds the door open for a peer
• Student cleans a cafeteria table next to theirs without being asked
• Student compliments another student and goes out of their way to make them feel valuable

2) Do Your Best –(addresses principles 6,7,10) Comet Scholar is an academic-centered award. We are aiming to reward excellence in the classroom- Doing your best. Each month a Comet Scholar committee member will send out an email asking each teacher to nominate a “Student of the Month” (SOM)- a student who has demonstrated good character in the pursuit of academic success. One morning per month, we will recognize 9th & 10th grade SOM and 11th & 12th grade SOM. These students will receive a pass to come to the library at the beginning of homeroom. Students will receive a certificate, pin, and enjoy refreshments. Each month we will update the SOM bulletin board outside of Room 110 with these students’ names. Those names will be entered into a drawing at the end of the year for donated prizes.
Teachers also receive “Do Your Best” postcards to mail home to multiple students each month in order to recognize students for their hard work in class.


3) Create Your Best – (addresses 1,2,4,7,10)
The Create the Best incentive program is aimed at encouraging students to leave Catonsville High better then they found it. The program looks to reward students who create a program, initiative or product that improves the mission of Catonsville High School.


Examples of what Creating Your Best might look like:

• Student creates a new club that benefits the entire school and/or community
• Student-led initiative such as producing an anti-bullying video or a new student orientation video which can be used by the school educationally (actual example)
• Significantly assisting a teacher or school program that impacts the entire school and/or community
• Designing a computer program (crossword puzzle) that assists Catonsville Middle School in reinforcing key vocabulary words (actual example)

 

Recognizing students for creating their best usually involves initiatives that go beyond them and a small group of friends. These initiatives should reinforce Comet culture and make Catonsville a better place. This award is not given out at regular intervals since these types of actions can take time to grow and show results. One Create Your Best may be given out one quarter and three the next, depending on circumstances. There is an award ceremony with family and media in attendance and the students receive a plaque recognizing their contribution.

4) Comet Senior Leader Program (addresses principles 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,11). Every spring, juniors nominate themselves to be next year’s senior leaders. Each student needs two teacher recommendations in support of the nomination. We typically have over 120 students who then serve as teachers regarding positive academic and behavioral habits as well as the school’s ambassadors. These students come together with three faculty members over the summer to create 6 character lessons (different every year) that they will then go into all classrooms and teach at regular intervals. These students have taught lessons on academic honesty, bullying, getting involved in clubs, positive study habits, and many more character education topics. These student volunteers are also employed as guides during all evening events that parents and the community partake in at our school, such as freshman orientation nights, GT Panel night, and Back to School Night.

 

Comet Culture Initiatives 2015/2016


Be Your Best rewards program- (behavior)
Do Your Best rewards program (Comet Scholar) (academic)
Create Your Best rewards program (school improvement)
• Comet Culture Mini-Lessons- revamped and updated
• Teacher of the Month (TOM Award)
• Be Your Best post cards mailed each month by teachers
• Cultivating , reinforcing and utilizing Senior Leader program
• Student Posters- “Being Their Best” -Improve Visibility of Program
• Morning Announcements accentuating “Being Your Best”
• Bi-yearly survey regarding school culture by staff, students, and parents
• Weak long Diversity Awareness program created, organized and presented by students
• Developed Anti-Bullying Video Contest and anti- bullying day at CHS
• Incorporating Responsibility Centered Discipline (RCD)in professional development activities (on going)
• Committee currently working on ways to bring in financial support from community

 

Committee Members-
Eric Eiswert
Alicia Brady- Be Your Best initiative
Summer Miller (and committee)- Do Your Best initiative- Comet Scholar (academic)
Tracy Rehmert/Yetta Nowak- Create Your Best initiative, Senior Leader Program
Cristina Dalton- Teacher of the Month (TOM)

 

“Be Your Best”


Be your Best is a reward and acknowledgement program aimed at recognizing students who show character in their words and actions. These actions can be large or very small but show concern for others and an ability to put others before themselves.


Each teacher receives Be Your Best tickets (5-10) at regular intervals. Teachers are to write their name on the back of each ticket and hand those tickets to students who they witness “being their best”. Students then turn those tickets into the cafeteria for a free treat and the student is then eligible to win a larger monthly prize.


Examples of why you would give a student a Be Your Best ticket:

• Student picks up papers another student accidently dropped
• Student assist a new student to class in getting make-up work and supplies
• Student turns in a phone found on the floor
• Student holds the door open for a friend
• Student cleans a cafeteria table next to theirs without being asked
• Student compliments another student and goes out of their way to make them feel valuable


These actions can be small and seem insignificant but you observe their potential impact. The hope is that not only students feel good about the positive recognition but that these behaviors are passed on the school as a whole.


Look for your Comet Be Your Best tickets and hand them out often. If you need more, email Mr. Eiswert and Ms. Brady. Teachers also are to write their name on the back of each to win an award along with the winning student.

 

“Do Your Best”


Comet Scholar is an academic-centered award. We are aiming to reward excellence in the classroom.


Each teacher will select one student per month based on one or more of the following criteria:


Criteria:

1. Student had the highest overall grade.
2. Student produced high quality homework/classwork.
3. Student improved test scores.
4. Student had a tremendous improvement in one or more academic categories.
5. Student had a high level of participation in class.
6. Student demonstrated good study habits.

 

~Each month a Comet Scholar committee member will send out an email requesting your “Comet Scholar of the Month”. Please select one student and be sure to check the correct grade level (9, 10, 11, 12) and spelling on STARS. On the morning of the SOM meeting students will receive a pass to come to the library at the beginning of homeroom. We will have 9th & 10th graders together and 11th & 12th graders together. Students will receive a certificate, pin and a donut. Each month we will update the bulletin board outside of room 110 with the SOM’s for the month. Those names will be placed in a drawing at the end of the year for donated prizes.

 

“Create Your Best”


The Create the Best incentive program is aimed at encouraging students to leave Catonsville High better then they found it. The program looks to reward students who create a program, initiative or product that improves the mission of Catonsville High School.


Examples of what Creating Your Best might look like:

 

• Student creates a new club which becomes extremely successful and benefits the entire school and/or community
• Student led initiative such as producing an anti-bullying video or a new student orientation video which can be used by the school educationally (actual example)
• Significantly assisting a teacher or school program that impacts the entire school and/or community
• Designing a computer program (crossword puzzle) that assists Catonsville Middle School in reinforcing key vocabulary words (actual example)

 

Recognizing students for creating their best usually involves initiatives that go beyond them and a small group of friends. These initiatives should reinforce Comet culture and make Catonsville a better place. This award is not given out at regular intervals since these types of actions can take time to grow and show results. One Create Your Best may be given out one quarter and three the next. It all depends.


A nomination form can be found on the shared drive and reminders to think about possible nominees will be sent out every quarter. After the committee receives a nominee it meets to decide its merits.

 

 


The Maryland Center for Character Education at Stevenson University
School of Education, 1525 Greenspring Valley Road, Stevenson, MD 21153


E-Mail: MCCEcharacter@aol.com