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Montana Department of Education Abstract

Contact: Peggy Azure
Office of Public Instruction
P.O. Box 202501
(406) 444-5726
pazure@state.mt.us

Montana Character Education Project

Grant Number: R215V0I0010
Project Period: 7/1/01–6/30/05
FY 2001 Award: $250,000
FY 2002 Award: $250,000
FY 2003 Award: $250,000
FY 2004 Award: $250,000

We live in a world that is rapidly changing. Once isolated from much of the trauma caused by rapid growth, crime, and violence, Montana is now feeling the effects of a shrinking world and rapid population growth in the state. Tied to those changes is an alarming increase in youth violence, substance abuse, and gang activities. This project recognizes the need to help young people in these changing times become citizens who are caring, fair, and honest; who respect the rights of others; who believe in justice; and who are responsible and trustworthy.

The Montana Character Education Project is designed to promote character education throughout Montana. The goals of the project are to: create school and community environments that support the development and demonstration of character in youth; enhance student academic performance and interpersonal and civic skills; and design and implement an effective character education model program that will meet the unique needs of a rural, sparsely populated state, which can be duplicated in both rural and urban areas nationally.

In order to accomplish these goals, the first year's activities include the formation of local Community Partnerships to develop action research plans at five pilot sites. Activities that will begin in year one and continue throughout the project include:

  • Intensive study of existing instructional models and strategies and their effectiveness;

  • Professional development opportunities for teachers, students, parents, and community members;

  • Annual Character Education Conference to learn innovative approaches and to share successful instructional strategies for promoting good character;

  • Kids Council and Youth Justice Summit sessions to establish students' voices in character education;

  • Dissemination of a Character Education Model program to foster character education statewide using what worked from the pilot sites; and

  • Identification and documentation of "local heroes" and role models who exemplify good character.

During the second year, the five pilot sites will begin implementing their action plans. Throughout years two, three, and four the school/community partnerships will support activities to strengthen good character in their youth. An Office of Public Instruction (OPI) Planning Team will coordinate the character education concepts in workshops, promote character education, and expand the project further. In year four, the statewide instructional model will be completed based upon the successful results from the five pilot sites. This statewide instructional model will be distributed in paper format and electronically. An evaluation of the project will be completed with the results posted on the OPI Website. The project will culminate with a statewide conference at which students will make multimedia presentations to showcase the work at the five pilot sites.

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Last Modified: 11/08/2011