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Partnerships in Character Education Program

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Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Miami-Dade County Public Schools Character Education Program

Contact Information: Mara Zapata, Project Director
Miami-Dade County Public Schools
1500 Biscayne Boulevard, Suite 327C
Miami, Florida 33132
Web site: None
Grant Period: 2005-2009
Amount Requested: $1,500,000 for a four-year project

Program Description
Miami-Dade County Public Schools will implement a project for grades K-12 that promotes nine core character traits adopted by the district with community input. Partners in the project include the Dade County Council Parent Teacher Association/ Parent Teacher Student Association, Florida Law Related Education Association, Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust, St. Thomas University Center for Contemporary Ethics, Character Research Institute, and Youth Ethics Initiative, Inc. A Character Education Framework (CEF) will be developed to feature techniques for leading discussions with students on character and ethics and suggested formats for students’ written work. The CEF will provide a framework for teaching character education and higher level thinking skills at all grade levels. Project personnel will develop additional character education instructional materials, especially at the secondary level; provide professional development for teachers; and, develop a home learning component for parents. Miami-Dade is the fourth largest school district in the nation and by the conclusion of the project period, the district hopes to serve all 365,000 students and 19,000 teachers in 357 schools.

Goals and Objectives

  • To develop a character education project that impacts all classrooms, students’ homes and the community
  • To develop quality instructional materials to support character education
  • To provide administrators, teachers and counselors with professional development to support the teaching of character education
  • To increase positive student behavior; participation in extra-curricular activities; parent, community, faculty, and administrator involvement; attendance at training activities; action research projects for continuous improvement; and compilations of lessons reflecting best practices
  • To study the impact of the project on the participants and the fidelity of the implementation of the program activities.

Evaluation Design
The district will conduct an experimental evaluation with random assignment to treatment and control groups. The evaluation team will use an annual school climate survey and will disseminate formative evaluation results to stakeholders.

Program Highlights
To lay the foundation for the full implementation of the Partnership in Character Education Program, several activities were initiated during the 2005-2006 school year. Classroom activities to support instruction on the District’s nine core values were developed and distributed to all schools in the fall of 2005 by the district’s Division of Social Sciences. A Youth Ethics Conference was held in the spring for senior high school students. Over 200 students attended the conference co-sponsored by Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Youth Ethics Initiative, Inc., which is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting ethical attitudes and behaviors among students. Project personnel have been involved in the planning of an August 2006 Ethics Institute for 50 senior high school language arts, reading, mathematics, science and social studies teachers, sponsored by Youth Ethics Initiative, Inc.


 
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Last Modified: 11/08/2011