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Three CCSD Schools Earn National Awards for Character Education

Posted On: Monday, June 8, 2020

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Three Cherokee County School District schools have earned national awards for exemplary character education programs!

Character.org, the leading nonprofit organization supporting character education, has honored Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy, Freedom Middle School and Liberty Elementary School with Promising Practices awards.  Only 246 schools nationwide were honored, and they are the only Georgia schools recognized!

“Developing positive character is an important facet of the learning experience in CCSD, and we’re so proud of these schools for their leadership and national recognition,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said.  “We want every student we serve to learn the importance of kindness, compassion and unity, and the projects that have earned these honors can teach important lessons to all of us.”

To win the award, schools must demonstrate exemplary character development practices through a specific initiative, such as a service-learning project, peer mentoring program or other similar activity.  Character.org will honor the 2020 Promising Practice recipients at its National Forum in March in Washington, D.C.

“Each of these programs and initiatives have demonstrated significant impact and strongly align with the principles that help schools and organizations cultivate a culture of character,” said Dr. Arthur Schwartz, President of Character.org.

Liberty ES, which previously has earned the organization’s top honor of National School of Character and numerous Promising Practices awards, continues its legacy with two more awards, while this is the first Promising Practice Award for Clark Creek ES STEM Academy and for Freedom MS.

Clark Creek earned its honor for a three-year effort to “cultivate a culture of caring” through service-learning projects and the development of a “tribe” program that celebrates positive behavior.

“Students take part in creating, designing, experiencing, and reflecting on project-based service-learning projects that are based upon the needs of the community, as students practice infusing taking part in moral action within their studies to promote learning to have compassion for others,” Principal Joey Moss said, who praised teacher Lauren Abrams for leading the initiative.  “This sustainable character education practice, where character is included within the six tribe structure, allows for students to see the importance and impact of servicing others in their community.”

Freedom MS won its first honor for the Freedom Compassion Council, a club that includes many former Liberty ES students who are continuing their passion for service-learning as middle school students.  During the past school year, the Council created a unity tree display at the school and organized a school-wide collection drive to create “necessity boxes” for children in foster care who are supported by The Children’s Haven.

“This is a great accomplishment as a result of much hard work from our students, staff, and families!” Principal Sheila Grimes said.

Liberty ES earned Promising Practices awards for two efforts: its Student Leadership Team’s support of the Cherokee High School Cares Closet by collecting household items, toiletries and snacks for students in need; and for its PRIDE Value awareness and family engagement project.  As part of the PRIDE Value project, the school distributed a PTA-funded magnet to every family to celebrate the school’s core values: Prepare and be punctual, Respect self and others, Inspire others by being kind, Display responsible behavior and Exhibit excellence and empathy.  Students then were asked to share these core values at home by engaging in family conversations about them, such as during dinner and at bedtime.

“I am beyond proud of the students and staff of Liberty ES for their continued work in building and engaging a culture of kindness,” Principal Doug Knott said.
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