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Evaluation Criteria

Clarity of narrative: Provide enough detail in the narrative responses for evaluators to judge the effectiveness of the practice.

Uniqueness: Although a given practice may be new to a particular school or local area, it may not be unique statewide. Many wonderful and effective practices (such as mentoring programs, service clubs, or leadership training) are sometimes not selected because they are not unique or there are many such practices submitted for consideration in a given year.

Specificity: Synergy is looking for distinct programs or practices that may be replicated, not descriptions of a school’s entire character education focus or initiative.

11 Principles: Practices must be in keeping with Character.org’s 11 Principles. For example, for Principle 5, community service projects will not be selected if they do not include the components of service learning (student leadership, connection to curriculum, and reflection). Similarly, even though “caught being good” or other student recognition programs may be effective or well-loved in a given school, Synergy is looking for practices that do not excessively single students out for recognition or give students material or extrinsic rewards in order to best satisfy the spirit and intent of Principle 7.

Evidence of Impact: The application should contain sufficient evidence of impact on participants. Some practices may hold promise for the future, but have not yet demonstrated sufficient evidence of impact.

Number of awards per applicant: Synergy does not give more than two awards to any one school, district, or organization applicant in a given year. (Applications submitted by individual schools within a district are not considered “district” applications. Therefore, a single district may win numerous awards in a given year if they are submitted by different schools and perhaps also the central office.)

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