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 What are the “Eleven Principles of Effective Character Education”?

The “11 Principles of Effective Character Education” (11 Principles) is a research-based framework developed by for improving school climate and culture through a school-wide emphasis on character education. The framework serves as a tool for planning and assessing highly effective character education initiatives, complementary to other school climate improvement efforts (e.g., PBIS, Responsive Classroom, restorative practices and social-emotional learning).

Understanding and using these principles helps schools learn what effective character education is, how to build a school environment that fosters character development in students, who must be involved in designing the character education initiative and how to assess areas of strength and growth.
Effective character education:
Principle 1:   Promotes core ethical and performance values as the foundation ogood character
Principle 2:   Defines character tinclude thinkingfeeling, and doing
Principle 3:   Uses a comprehensive, intentional and proactive approach to character development
Principle 4:   Creates a caring community
Principle 5:   Provides students witopportunities fomoral action
Principle 6:   Offers a meaningful and challenging academic curriculum 
Principle 7:   Fosters students’ self-motivation
Principle 8:   Engages staff as an ethical learning community 
Principle 9:   Fosters shared leadership and long-range support of the character education initiative
Principle 10: Engages families and community members as partners
Principle 11: Assesses the culture and climate of the school
The "11 Principles of Effective Character Education" guidebook is a free downloadable document that explains each of the principles in depth and includes a scoring guide as an assessment tool and rubric for the Schools of Character application. Download the 11 Principles Score Sheet to calculate scores automatically from your stakeholder self-assessment. 

11 Principles Resources &Training
Resources and training are available to help develop an in-depth understanding of the 11 Principles and how to effectively implement them in your school or district. offers multiple support and training opportunities for K-12 schools and districts. If your school is interested in hosting a training, please contact Barb Bergseth at or 507-389-5112

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