Objective(s): To promote an environment and curriculum where
students will become citizens of strong moral character by incorporating
character education lessons, themes, and traits into daily school activities
and involving all stakeholders including students, staff, parents, and
Principle 4: The school creates a caring community.
Oklahoma Road Middle School’s (ORMS) school counselors
helped students celebrate Bullying Prevention Month in October, including
a school-wide Unity Day. Students dressed in the same color to stand as
one, and prizes were awarded to the most spirited outfits. Students also
had the opportunity to enter an essay contest that focused on PACER’s
National Bullying Prevention Center and its “Be United Against Bullying”
Students at ORMS are also encouraged to find a sense of community, support,
and fun through supporting the National Red Ribbon Week campaign. Each
day drug prevention announcements were made to promote an awareness. Included
in this campaign was a Spirit Week, which was held in late October. Each
day held a theme connected to a drug prevention slogan and students dressed
to support each theme. Homerooms, grades, and even teachers prided themselves
on their participation and their dedication to school spirit.
6th grade students experienced lessons during the fall with their school
counselor that focused on empathy and expressing gratitude. Through the
lessons, students were able to define empathy and describe appropriate
empathetic responses to specific emotions or experiences. Students were
guided to demonstrate social maturity and chose behaviors appropriate
to the situation and environment. These lessons encouraged students to
develop and maintain positive and supportive relationships with other
Within the school community, ORMS teachers organize and manage a peer
mentoring program. 8th and 7th grade students assist 7th and 6th grade
students that may be struggling with organization and motivation. The
focus of the program includes helping to organize student materials and
set goals with current and future tasks. The program targets identified
students that would benefit from additional academic and emotional support.
The mentor and mentee students build a caring and respectful relationship,
which in turn fosters self-motivation.
ORMS has an active Twister News Live Team (TNL) group. TNL is a student
run morning announcements broadcast group. Every morning they have a live
broadcast of the school’s daily events. This group also provides
many service projects to the community. Most recently, the group raised
money through its “shout-outs” to donate to Heifer International,
which supports sustainable agriculture for families on a global scale.
ORMS students pay one dollar to have a shout-out read to a friend. Other
efforts this year including raising money for SHOUT’s Pennies for
Patients fundraiser, as well as funds for the Pets-on-Wheels organization
and dog treats for the therapy dogs.
Student organization SHOUT sponsored “Pennies for Patients,”
benefiting the Lymphoma and Leukemia Foundation. ORMS students participated
in a money collecting program; buckets were set up in the lunchroom where
students could donate. Teachers, instructional assistants, and administrators
volunteered to perform certain activities if students donated the most
money to their bucket. All proceeds went to the Leukemia and Lymphoma
Society, which is the largest voluntary health organization dedicated
to funding research, finding cures and ensuring access to treatments for
blood cancer patients. In addition, SHOUT worked with the Salvation Army
to collect donations to benefit local families during the holiday season
and made scarves which were donated to the local Meals on Wheels.
ORMS is dedicated to helping students achieve academic and personal growth.
Administrators, teachers, and other staff members offer their time and
resources to support student interests. This year, ORMS has supported
the following clubs or groups: Children’s Book Academy, SCORE Challenge
Team, Battle of the Books, Coding Club, SHOUT, Student Government Association,
Drama, Education that is Multicultural, Twister News Live, Fellowship
of Christian Athletes, Chess Club, Yearbook Club, Run 4 Change, Morning
Fitness Clubs, Ski Club, Geography Bee, Afternoon Appetites, and Afternoon
Dance and Recreation activities. There are many opportunities for students
to find a welcoming niche here at ORMS.
ORMS participates in an incentive program that helps recognize students
when they demonstrate positive and caring actions. Students can earn Twister
Tickets that are drawn on a regular basis for rewards or for access to
ORMS’ monthly Twister Rewards Parties. The chance for these rewards
and parties encourages students to engage with one another and with their
teachers in a more respectful and caring way. These are only a few examples
of how ORMS students, staff and community create a caring and supportive
environment. The ORMS community is extremely aware of the needs of our
stakeholders, and puts forth great effort to help others.
Principle 7: Strives to Foster students’ self-motivation
Oklahoma Road Middle School staff, students, parents,
and the community work diligently to foster self-motivation. Many of our
students are motivated to do well academically. Over 65% of student make
the Honor Roll each quarter. Over 63% of students have 94.00 % attendance
or higher. Over 97% students have completed Student Service Hours this
Students need to be self-motivated to complete tasks for several extra-curricular
activities: Yearbook Committee, Drama Club, Choir, Chess Club, Cultural
Connections, and Student Government just to name a few. Several times
this year individual students have requested to start a new club/group.
The Anime Club and The Fellowship of Christian Athletes are two examples
of student initiated groups this year. Both have been very successful
and have over ten students attending regular meetings.
This year ORMS developed a student mentor program. This program offers
students who are “at risk” an opportunity to work with other
student mentors on a regular basis. Student mentors help at-risk students
create goals for themselves that foster self-motivation in the areas of
academics, personal, social, emotional, and career readiness. To date
we had over 30 students involved in this program.
Oklahoma Road also has a Student Government Association which strengths
student’s leadership skills and fosters self-motivation. Many activities
organized by the SGA involve students working independently. SGA sponsored
events included Penny Wars, Spirit Week, a Basketball game, and Fun Night.
Students are required to fill out an activity proposal for ideas they
would like to implement. Student planning and preparation need to be well
thought out when completing the activity proposal. Many students attend
county and state level Student Government meetings and workshops to learn
new skills necessary for effective student leadership.
Oklahoma Road Middle has a school-wide reward system “Caught Being
Good”. Teachers give students Character Tickets for demonstrating
positive character traits. Some of those behaviors include positive character
traits such as: responsibility, respect, self-motivation, and kindness.
Students turn these tickets in to receive a variety of rewards and possibly
be selected to attend the monthly Character Party.
S.H.O.U.T., Students Helping Others Understand Themselves has sponsored
many events that encouraged others to be self-motivated. SHOUT students
performed acts of kindness to other students at ORMS. In return, the recipient
will receive a card to perform an act of kindness to another student,
passing it on. Then the student may write the act of kindness on the SHOUT
bulletin board. This activity promotes kindness in treating others throughout
the school year. SHOUT was also involved in collecting Pennies for Patients.
The money raised was donated to the American Lymphoma Association.
Many of the ELA teachers use journal reflections that tie into character
traits as well as highlight reading selections that connect. Also, we
use Excellence Portfolios with reflection sheets encouraging students
to be self-motivated and self-reflective
One of the Character Education lessons we conducted was specifically on
Resiliency. During this lesson teachers discussed with students the meaning
of resiliency and gave examples. Students were then asked to write on
a paper brick a situation where they had to be resilient. These bricks
were all hung together to demonstrate our wall of strength and how resilient
our students can be.
Principle 10: Engages families and community
members as partners in the character-building effort.
As a part of ORMS’ Character Education lessons
and discussions on helpfulness and service, students supported several
different community-aid efforts leading up to our winter break. Families
and students collected dog and cat food and animal care items to be donated
to the local Humane Society. Items were also collected for the local homeless
shelters managed by Human Services Programs of Carroll County. The Children’s
Book Academy is a club that encourages ORMS students to create their own
picture books and provides the opportunity for our middle school students
to visit a local elementary school and read to younger students.
The SCORE research database skills competition involved time here at school
where our students trained together, but also incorporated family and
community involvement for the final competition, where parents and community
members gathered to see teams from schools around the county compete.
The ORMS Battle of the Books teams also trained here at school to be able
to compete in a larger county-wide competition in the spring. Our SGA
organized an evening basketball game in March between ORMS students and
students of another local middle school. All of these opportunities allow
for families and community members to come together and champion for our
ORMS also looks for opportunities to bring in perspectives from the community
for our students to experience. Our media specialist organized a performance
and talk from Walt Michaels. Mr. Michaels performed with several instruments,
shared about the creative process, and connected his instruments and songs
to important cultural events, such as the Civil Rights Movement. Our media
specialist also invited a local singer/songwriter/artist, Ellen Cherry,
to meet with 6th grade ELA classes to learn about the songwriting process
and discuss some of her own interests, such as sharing history through
songs and creating portraits of interesting women in history. Students
were encouraged to draw from their own interests, life experiences, and
emotion - both difficult and uplifting - to create something positive!
On Veterans Day in November, ORMS invited family members of students who
are currently serving or have served in the United States Military to
attend a breakfast honoring their service. Several service members and
veterans stayed through the day and spoke to students in their Social
Studies classes about their military experiences.
Our Parent/Teacher Association plans events to bring our students and
their families together, raising funds that support school programs and
materials. This year the ORMS PTA has organized several Restaurant Nights,
which encourage families to join together within the community at eat
at a local restaurant. Some of the restaurant’s profits from the
evening help support ORMS. Recreational evenings have also been planned
by the PTA. For instance, families could attend an evening event at a
local indoor trampoline park. The PTA works with our teacher representative
and administration to plan and advertise events that connect students
and families beyond the classroom.
This year one of our S.T.E.M.-Science/Technology/Engineering/Math classes
created an aquaponics system which grew various produce products that
were then donated to a local food bank for distribution to local families
Principle 9: Fosters shared moral leadership and long
range support of the character education initiative.
Principle 11: Evaluates the character of the school,
the school staff's functioning as character educators, and the extent
to which students manifest good character.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Oklahoma Road
Middle School. To celebrate this anniversary, the School Improvement Team,
Administration, and Character Education Committee developed activities
and programs that would support the future of our school as we head into
our next twenty years. First, we administered a survey to students, parents,
and staff members in order to develop a new vision statement. From this
we were able to develop a vision statement incorporating the values and
principles that included a renewed dedication to character education.
Our new vision statement states, “Oklahoma Road Middle School provides
an environment of respect and collaboration where students develop skills
and knowledge to become responsible citizens and preserve through challenging
learning opportunities”. In order to foster positive communication,
collaboration, citizenship, and character, we evaluated our existing character
education program and decided to develop a new rewards/incentive program
that focused on character traits of the month. The Character Education
Committee created engaging character education lessons on traits including
respect, resilience, and responsibility. The whole school conducts these
lessons at the same time during our flex period to create a sense of unity
and a common set of expectations for all. During one of these lessons,
we directed students to analyze our newly developed vision statement.
We broke students into groups to discuss and act out each part of our
new vision statement. We then challenged each flex group to a door decorating
contest to show how our vision statement builds good character. Attached
are some pictures from the contest and the PowerPoint lesson. We have
continued to build on this new vision statement and its role in our character
education program throughout the school year. Our new vision cements the
ideas that there will be long range support of character education and
moral leadership into our next twenty years. This year-long activity and
long range vision clearly focuses on principles 9 and 11.
The Maryland Center for Character
Educationat Stevenson University
School of Education, 1525 Greenspring Valley Road, Stevenson, MD 21153