The Oakwood Elementary School in Glen Burnie not only teaches math, reading and other basics. It also teaches students how to be good people, says an article in the Maryland Gazette.
As a result, Oakwood has been named one of 50 finalists for the National School of Character Award, sponsored by the national Character Education Partnership. Finalists were chosen from 140 candidates across the country, and Oakwood is the only school in Maryland to be selected. The school will be competing with 40 public schools, five charter schools, three private schools, and two school districts.
In 2005, the school started a Character Education program, which teaches positive character traits to students through all elements of the curriculum. During the first four years of the program, trips to the office by misbehaving students dropped by 90 percent. Teachers say that the kids are kinder to each other. This creates fewer disruptions and allows the focus to be on learning.
Each month, a new character trait is presented, such as courage. Students might then read a story and write a paper about how the character displayed courage. If students display their own good character by performing a good deed, they are recognized during morning announcements and with their names posted in the school's main hallway. Both teachers and other students can recognize a good deed.
Teachers, parents, and students agree that character building is just as important as learning addition or spelling.
The award winners will be announced in May, with winners being recognized in October at the 18th Annual National Forum on Character Education.
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