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Partnerships in Character Education Program

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South Carolina Department of Education
Teen Leaders Evolving and Developing (Teen LEAD)

Contact Information: Joan Dickinson, Project Director
South Carolina Department of Education
1429 Senate Street
Room 708-D, Rutledge Building
Columbia, SC 29201
Web site: None
Grant Period: 2006-2010
Amount Requested: $2,573,882 for a four-year project

Program Description
South Carolina Teen Leaders Evolving and Developing (Teen LEAD) will increase youth leadership in character development initiatives by providing a summer training program, mentoring and technical assistance to teams of rising 10th graders from high schools across the state. School faculty and staff will nominate students with leadership potential, who are unlikely to pursue postsecondary education, to serve on the six-member team representing their school at the summer training program. This project addresses the concern that approximately 28% of 10th graders in South Carolina do not pass the statewide exit exam. Clemson University’s Youth Leadership Institute will design and conduct the summer training program which will develop leadership, work skills and character assets among the student participants and provide youth empowerment training for the adult mentors who accompany them. The teams will be given equipment and funding support and charged with forming a student character cadre to implement youth-led character initiatives in their schools and communities.

Cadre projects will range from educational presentations and community events to service learning, peer mediation and cross-age mentoring projects. Berkeley, Clarendon, Greenville, Laurens, Lexington, Marlboro and Orangeburg school districts will participate. Ten high schools will participate during the pilot year and 20 additional high schools will participate in each subsequent year. Over the entire grant period, 420 students and 70 adult mentors will participate in the summer training and 70 high schools will benefit from Teen LEAD. An annual statewide conference will serve as a live resource center for innovative strategies, program management, recruitment policies, service learning and career-character connections.

Goals and Objectives

  • To develop and provide technical assistance and financial support to student “character cadres” in developing, implementing, and evaluating their programs so that they follow best practice guidelines, use research-based programs, and have a diverse base of support
  • To implement scientifically based research that will inform improvement in, and contribute to current knowledge about, youth-led initiatives

Evaluation Design This project will conduct an experimental evaluation study. Teen LEAD will use random assignment of schools and students into experimental and control groups. Seven school districts have agreed to participate in the pilot year of the project, sending 10 teams to training, and serving as the evaluation subjects for the duration of the grant period. As part of the process evaluation, South Carolina will use a four-level evaluation of training programs: reaction, learning, behavior and results to determine changes in participants’ knowledge and behavior and the impact on systems within which the training recipients operate. Evaluation instruments include the Eleven Principles Survey of Character Education Effectiveness (EPS) and the Collective Responsibility for Excellence in Ethics (CREE). Members of the pilot-year student teams will assist in the development of templates for Teen LEAD accountability reporting.

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Last Modified: 11/08/2011