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National & State Schools of Character Awards Program. Sponsored by. Leading the nation in helping schools develop people of good character for a just and compassionate society. What is the NSOC awards program?.
Leading the nation in helping schools develop people of good character for a just and compassionate society.
Character Education Partnership (CEP) selects approximately 10 schools and districts each year that exemplify CEP’s Eleven Principles.
National Schools of Character
serve as models and ambassadors,
receive a grant to provide outreach to other educators at CEP’s Forum and at their home site.
Banner and award
NSOC logo and name
Articles in annual NSOC publication
Pages on CEP’s website
Lesson plans and sample practices
Present at CEP Forum
Conduct trainings for other educators
Any U.S. public or private K-12 school engaged in character education for at least 3 years
Any district (or smaller administrative unit) engaged for 4 years
Not eligible? Consider applying for a
Promising Practices award.
Application Cover Sheet completed online then printed
Demographics / Application Information page
7-page Narrative that explains how your initiative exemplifies the Eleven Principles (10 pages for districts)
15-page Portfolio with Table of Contents that provides supporting evidence for the Narrative (20 pages for districts)
A Self-Assessment Score Sheet that shows the results of your self-assessment according to the Quality Standards. More on this later!
The NSOC application process requires a group effort.
The process is competitive. In 2008, state sponsors and CEP received 185 applications, selected 27 finalists, and named 10 winners.
Applications must be postmarked December 1, 2009. Finalists are selected in March. After site visits in March & April, a Blue Ribbon Panel selects the winners in May.
Applicants find the process beneficial since it is a chance to conduct a thorough self-assessment and receive detailed feedback.
“This process allowed us to really focus on integrating character into everything we do—and keep a portfolio to tell our story.”
Applicants also receive a subscription to CEP’s electronic newsletter and an additional month to apply for a Promising Practices award.
If you are in a state that is participating in the State Schools of Character (SSOC) competitions, you send 4 copies of your application to your state sponsor.
All others submit their applications directly to CEP.
29 participating states (2010):
Evaluators use CEP’s Character Education Quality Standards to judge applications.
Download from www.character.org
A self-assessment tool derived from the Eleven Principles
Useful in designing an effective and comprehensive character education initiative
Useful to schools in assessing current efforts
Used to evaluate NSOC/SSOC applications
Broad principles that define excellence in character education
Based on the practices of effective schools
Effective character education:
Principle 1: Promotes core ethical values.
Principle 2: Defines “character” comprehensively to include thinking, feeling, and behavior.
Principle 3: Uses a comprehensive, intentional, and proactive approach.
Principle 4: Creates a caring school community.
Principle 5: Provides opportunities for moral action (service learning).
Principle 6: Includes a meaningful and challenging academic curriculum that meets the needs of all learners (performance character).
Principle 7: Fosters students’ self-motivation.
Principle 8: Engages the school staff as a learning and moral community.
Principle 9: Fosters shared moral leadership and long-range support.
Principle 10: Engages families and community members as partners.
Assessment should guide the process!
Principle 11: Evaluates the character education initiative.
National Schools of Character Awards
Go to CEP’s website (www.character.org) to familiarize yourself with the application process.
Print the NSOC or SSOC Application Guidelines, the Quality Standards and Guidelines for Districts(districts only).
Don’t miss the Helpful Information documents available to applicants.
Bring together a representative group of stakeholders (such as your Character Education Committee) to discuss and plan how you will proceed.
Principle 4: A Caring Community
Have the group organize your story
according to the Eleven Principles.
Begin the application process by completing the online Application Cover Sheet.
Enter information about your school, contact person, date your initiative began, and how you heard about the award.
This data enables CEP/state sponsor to keep track of your application and communicate with you.
When finished, print the Application Cover Sheet.
In a one-page document, describe:
Now comes a 7-page narrative (up to 10 for districts) that explains how your character education “story” exemplifies the 11 Principles.
Follow these guidelines:
Page 1 is an overview of your school or district in terms of character education.
It answers the question:
What are your character education goals?
It should include:
Organize the evidence in sequential order according to the Eleven Principles.
Number your pages from 1 to 15. (up to 20 for districts)
(How have results changed since
you started character education?)
The evaluators need to be able to read all evidence supplied in the Portfolio!
Keep photos to a minimum.
Now that your portfolio is complete, create your Table of Contents.
Don’t forget page numbers.
Optional: Return to your written narrative and insert portfolio page numbers that support your evidence.
Example from a winning narrative:
“Kindness and Justice” awards for compassionate behavior (7,15), and clubs such as Cares Council, Hand-in-Hand and Diversity reinforce empathy and tolerance (12,16).
Unique and specific character education strategies and programs that address the Eleven Principles
Applications are due March 15, 2010.
CEP features winning practices in the annual NSOC publication and on its website, where educators may search for ideas that work.
NSOC/SSOC applicants receive special consideration.
What questions do you have about the NSOC application process?
Remember there are resources for applicants available on CEP’s website.
NSOC / SSOC / Promising Practices
National Forum on Character Education
Staff Development Opportunities