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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.

NOVEMBER

This month's Best Practices is from an award winning school from 2016 - 2017.

 

BEST CHARACTER EDUCATION PRACTICES

 

School: Kent County High School

Address: 25301 Lambs Meadow Road, Worton, MD 21678
Principal: Tracey Williams
E-Mail: twillimas@kent.k12.md.us

Phone: 410-887-1710

 

Character Ed. Contact: Deeann Jones

E-Mail: director@cckentcounty.org

 

Title of Best Practice: K.C.H.S. = Keep Chasing Higher Successes

 

Primary Principles Emphasized: 1, 7, & 8

 

Objective(s): Mission Statement: The mission of Kent County High School is to equip every student to achieve success in a diverse global community.

 

Principle 1.3: The school community articulates its character-related goals and expectations through visible statements of its core ethical and performance values.

 

Description:

Kent County High School implements character education through the 6 Pillars of Character. One will find these pillars posted upon entrance to our building and our school staff, student body, administration, and broader community embody what it means to have good character. The pillars: kindness, caring, responsibility, respect, citizenship, and trustworthiness have been a familiar expectation for students from elementary school through adulthood. Kent County High School has a long tradition of character education and continues this through our school communities, Character Counts Program. Our district mission is: Anchored in excellence, Kent County Public Schools will provide personal learning experiences within a collaborative community of learners, that inspire our students to reach their highest potential and become engaged global citizens. One can find our Core Values under our mission statement. These are: students first, collaboration, commitment, community, fiscal responsibility, and trust.

 

Character education is found in our student handbook, Code for Athletes, and grading policy. Our school’s respect for all people is reflected through each teacher’s syllabi and Routines and Rituals documents given to students at the beginning of the school year. Teachers and faculty reinforce good character throughout the entire building by teaching students to take pride and responsibility for their school. Our culture and climate show that students love and respect their school.

 

Kent County High School maintains high expectations for students in academics, extra curricular, and community service. We rank in the top of the state for academic achievement and our clubs and extra curricular groups have a high level of participation and great success. Students at KCHS realize the potential they possess and work hard to be the best they can be both at school and in our community. Our principal has received numerous emails from community members complimenting the ways in which our students reflect positively on our school even when they are not within it’s four walls.


Principle 7.2: The school’s approach to student conduct uses all aspects of behavior management—including rule-setting and rule-enforcement—as opportunities to foster students’ character development, especially their understanding of and commitment to core values.

 

Description:

Kent County High School strongly believes in helping students become citizens who are caring, reliable, trustworthy, and empathetic. We encourage each student to support one another and set high expectations for him or herself. We have in place several programs to help students find intrinsic motivation and believe in him or her. Our P.B.I.S program rewards and recognizes students for academic success, as well as being a good role model for their peers. Our school has recently begun a program called MMSAP (Masonic Model Student Assistance Program). This program is designed to help build positive assets in students who may need motivation, encouragement, and support. Through this program we try to find ways to build leadership through a student’s strengths and teach them how to work through tough situations and find success, enjoyment, and self esteem. By focusing on a child’s strengths instead of areas in need of improvement, we hope to create a student body that works to support one another and where every child feels they have a network of peers and adults who believe in his or her ability to succeed.

 

Our school has programs in place to honor students for excelling in not only academics, but also behavior. Each month one department selects one male and one female student per grade level who embodies a particular pillar of character. These students are pictured in our front lobby and are honored with a student of the month breakfast

.

We also have a mentorship program where young male students from Washington College are partnered with students who need a positive role model. Many of these students lack positive male role models in their life and through this partnership they are able to have a person who models good character, positive behavior, and encourages them to work towards goals.

 

These programs, as well as a consistent and fair approach to discipline have dramatically deduced our discipline referrals in the past 4 years. The time students spend outside of an academic classroom has also been reduced and teachers as well as students all believe that the most important space for a student is in their classroom receiving instruction. This belief reduces time spent out of school due to suspensions and time spent in in-school suspension, or at our alternative school. This display of self-motivation and responsibility is shown in our climate surveys where an overwhelming majority of students believe they are responsible for their own learning and are able to monitor their progress and grades.

 

Principle 8.1: Staff model the core values in their interactions with students and each other, and students and parents perceive that they do.

 

Description:

The Kent County High School faculty and staff are members of a community in which pride, hard work, respect, and mutual uplifting are a part of every single day. We are a close knit staff who models good citizenship and a positive workplace for our young people. At our school over 60% of teachers and/or staff members are involved in some form of extra curricular activities whether they be coaches, directors, mentors, night school or home hospital teachers, etc. We are an involved group! Teachers participate and model our expectations for students. We are in attendance at events, we participate in school events, and we try to give back to our community whenever we can. As part of our teacher team building at the beginning of the school year we think of ways that we can unite as a staff to help our community. Two years ago we performed a bike building challenge in which we were able to reward local elementary students with a new bicycle at the end of the challenge. Teacher and staff also have participated in our “Be the Change” efforts to reduce bullying and harassment by taking part in “Challenge Day.” This day is an emotional and extremely personal day. By taking part, students see their teachers as human beings. They see that we care and come from a place of love, respect, and understanding. These events, as well as ongoing events to spread awareness and tolerance through our guidance department, our GSA, and school assemblies, all foster positive peer and teacher/student relationships in our building, and also outside of our school day. We donate items and hours for our P.B.I.S concession stand. Just this past month our football team hosted it’s first ever golf tournament fundraiser. Many staff members paid to participate in order to help students and student athletes. The fundraiser was a success but the showing of faculty and staff was a testament to the dedication of the KCHS school family. Our climate survey also speaks to this culture. In the survey given nearly 90% of our students believe that teachers are respectful to students and to one another and that they feel a part of a KCHS community. All of these statistics support that students feel they belong to a close community where they are safe, respected, and welcome.

 

 


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


E-Mail: MCCEcharacter@aol.com