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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 Character.org 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: Core values are defined, implemented and embedded into school culture. 
Principle 2: The school defines “character” to include thinking, feeling, and doing.
Principle 3: The school uses a comprehensive, intentional and proactive approach to develop character. 
Principle 4: The school creates a caring community.
Principle 5: The school provides students with opportunities for moral action.
Principle 6: The school offers a meaningful and challenging academic curriculum that respects all learners, develops
                     their character and helps them succeed.
Principle 7: The school fosters students’ self-motivation.
Principle 8: All staff share the responsibility for developing, implementing and modeling ethical character. 
Principle 9: The school’s character initiative fosters shared leadership and long-range support of the character
                     education initiative.
Principle 10: The school engages families and community members as partners in the character initiative.
Principle 11: The school assesses its implementation of character education, its culture and climate, and the character growth of students on a regular basis
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. Character.org 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 bbergseth@synergyexchange.org or 507-389-5112

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