Partnerships in Character Education Program
Rhode Island Department of Education Abstract
Contact: Linda Greenwood
Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
255 Westminster Street
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 2224600 ext. 2364
Modeling Character Education in Partner Districts
Application Number: R215V000006
Project Period: 7/l/006/30/03
FY 2000 Award: $334,578
FY 2001 Award: $357,369
FY 2002 Award: $303,498
This proposed project is a partnership of the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), the state's higher education community, and school districts in three diverse communitiesPawtucket, Providence, and Westerly. The project will be designed to create schools that model universal ethical values such as fairness, honesty, compassion, respect, and responsibility. Character education will be a vehicle for creating socially, emotionally and behaviorally healthy schools that inspire teachers to rethink the impact they have on students; students to have increased respect for themselves, their classmates and school staff; and parents and community to support and collaborate with schools to promote the affective dimensions of educational achievement and the development of students of good character
Each of these communities has committed with RIDE to develop and implement a systemic character education strategy built on current state and local school reform efforts. RIDE is well positioned to develop and implement such a program because of the state's Comprehensive Education Strategy (CES), which creates a foundation on which systemic change is taking place throughout the state. The CES is an "ALL KIDS" agenda and includes instruction, learning, school accountability, and support systems. Creating and maintaining partnerships among schools, communities and families is a cornerstone of our agenda in moving forward successfully to promote high academic performance in a safe, healthy and nurturing school environment. RIDE has a well documented track record in working to create and sustain such partnerships on the state level, as well as helping school districts do so in their communities.
The partner districts will work with RIDE to implement activities in seven areas: planning, professional development, curriculum revision, student character development, parent and community involvement and support, replication at other sites, and development of a media campaign that will generate a broad base of support for character education efforts.
Each of the three districts and eleven participating schools will begin the process of bringing character education into their existing environment by assessing their current school community, as well as the goals and objectives of their newly developed School Improvement Plans. This process will increase awareness of the values already at work and will provide indicators of any inhibitors. It will also help the school task forces to know how to begin the process and how to determine criteria for involvement. All 13 schools have committed to provide 24 hours of professional development and 40 hours of follow-up small group sessions for 25 percent of their staff in the first 2 years of implementation. They also have committed to ensure that whatever model they develop will include all students.