Where can parents learn more about CharacterStrong?
To learn more about CharacterStrong, check out www.characterstrong.com
and look for them on social media. In addition to the sample lessons available on their main website, families can sign up for "Family Access" to the CharacterStrong curriculum and will be given 30-day access to review content. To register for family access, please visit https://www.characterstrong.com/family-welcome-link
. Questions can also be directed to Dr. Jamie Whye, Assistant Superintendent.
What grade levels will be utilizing the CharacterStrong curriculum?
Students in kindergarten through grade 8 will be utilizing CharacterStrong. Our high school team is working to determine what resources will best meet the needs of our staff, students and families and I will bring forward that curriculum for Board approval once it has been selected.
When will CharacterStrong lessons be taught?
The CharacterStrong curriculum will be a routine part of the student day with lessons included during morning meetings at the elementary schools. Middle school staff will designate a common time each week to deliver the lesson. Instructional time will not be lost at either level.
Can you provide an overview of the CharacterStrong curriculum?
CharacterStrong is designed to build social and emotional skills, develop character, and strengthen educator-student relationships. It intentionally teaches character traits and goes in-depth into what these traits look like and then follows up with practical ways to improve them in their own lives and with those around them. Adults may recognize some of these traits from when they were in school and the lessons were considered Character Education.
Prior to the adoption of CharacterStrong, all of our elementary and middle school buildings taught different variations of character education as part of their Multi-tiered Systems of Support and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports. With Character Strong, teachers will be asked to do what they do best, teach. The lessons come prepared and outlined for teachers in order to reduce the burden on staff. If the program is successful, that will mean more time to focus on academics, rather than on having to resolve problems between students.
CharacterStrong is not a therapeutic program or mental health treatment, it is a character education program which weaves together strong instruction with intentional relationship-building techniques to support teaching non-cognitive character traits. At no point in the CharacterStrong lessons are children or adults asked to share things which would be best discussed with a mental health provider.
How can parents support the CharacterStrong program at home?
When it comes to the well-being of our children, parents and school staff members are a team. Parents will still be the ones instilling their personal values; however, there are many skills and character traits that our children utilize in the school and work settings and there is a benefit to learning and practicing those skills with their peers. Families can join us in supporting the development of these traits by talking to their children about what they are learning in school and how they relate to their family's personal values.
Is there any research or evidence on the effects of social emotional learning?
Research supporting social emotional learning can be found on the CASEL website
and CharacterStrong website
. Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is the nation's leading organization advancing the development of academic, social and emotional competence for all students.Is there a process for opting out of the CharacterStrong curriculum?
Families have the right to have their children excused from specific instruction that conflicts with their religious beliefs. Board Policy 105.3: Exemptions From Instruction
, outlines the guidelines for making this request. Please contact your child's building principal for additional assistance.