Four Guilford Schools Recognized as State Schools of Character
Four schools in the state of North Carolina have earned the designation State School of Character, and all of them are Guilford County Schools.
Colfax Elementary, Southern Middle School, Southern High School and Southwest Middle School are the only North Carolina schools of the 44 nationwide to earn the title of State School of Character, by the National Character Education Partnership. They are now eligible to earn the National School of Character title as well.
The Character Education Partnership describes itself as a “a national advocate and leader for the character education movement… a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonsectarian coalition of organizations and individuals committed to fostering effective character education in our nation's schools.”
The organization employs 11 Principles of Effective Character Education at the core of its criteria for evaluating Schools of Character, in addition to other factors.
Each school named by the partnership keeps its State School of Character title for three years, and makes the school eligible for national recognition.
Fay Gore, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s state character education coordinator, said, “Guilford County Schools is a leader in character development for North Carolina and the nation. Guilford County leaders have shown a commitment to developing ethical and caring citizens by becoming North Carolina’s first State and National District of Character in 2013, and now by having four schools selected as this year’s state schools of character.”
A statement from Guilford County Schools on the Schools of Character designation said, “At Southern High, character and service-learning is a major component in many of their programs. The school’s growing health science program lets students volunteer in local nursing homes to gain practical experience, while giving back to the community. They also hold a blood drive each semester to help the American Red Cross.
At Southern Middle, teachers use the book "Teach Like a Champion" and the program "Heart of a Champion," which consistently reinforces positive character traits. The school’s middle school football team was recognized at the district’s State of Our Schools for serving as positive role models in character education.
Both Southwest Middle and Colfax Elementary are PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions Support) schools. These schools focus on using best evidence-based behavioral and academic practices for improving important academic and behavior outcomes for all students. Southwest and Colfax incorporate character education in their classrooms, integrating the district’s character traits into writing, reading and other service-learning projects.