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
Principle 1.3: The school community articulates its
character-related goals and expectations through visible statements of
its core ethical and performance values.
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
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.
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
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.
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
Educationat Stevenson University
School of Education, 1525 Greenspring Valley Road, Stevenson, MD 21153