Partnerships in Character Education Program
Utah Department of Education Abstract
Utah Community Partnership for Character Development
Application Number: R215V950016 Project Period: 9/1/958/31/99
FY 1995 Award: $246,997
FY 1996 Award: $248,991
FY 1997 Award: $248,593
FY 1998 Award: $248,923
The Utah Community Partnership for Character Development was a collaborative effort among the Utah State Office of Education (USOE), local school districts, and communities across the state to develop and implement a comprehensive model for character development. The project had six primary goals: (1) to identify a common philosophy that served as a framework and model for individual community's character development efforts; (2) to empower school-community teams to adapt the state consensus character development philosophy at the local community level, as well as make connections between teams and the state agency; (3) to develop and implement a comprehensive staff development program for educators and community teams; (4) to create character development instructional methodologies, learning strategies, and diversified and integrated instruction for K12; (5) to construct a multiphase structure that will provide for the expansion of the partnership to members statewide during the second, third, and fourth years of the grant; and (6) to develop and implement a comprehensive evaluation plan that will provide information to be used in developing, nurturing, and sustaining the Utah Community Partnership for Character Development.
Throughout the duration of the project, over 100 schools representing 6 school districts were directly involved in the project and another 32 were indirectly involved through participation in annual character education conferences sponsored by the USOE. After the Character Education Charter was developed using a consensus process, teams comprised of school and community representatives participated in a community building workshop, a 2-day school/community planning session, curriculum development activities, an annual conference, and evaluation sessions. The grant provided a framework for implementing character education, but the specifics (such as values, approaches and materials) were left to the discretion of individual schools. Most schools went through a similar process in implementing a comprehensive approach to character development, which included planning professional development, parent and community involvement, purchase/development of curriculum materials and resources, a variety of instructional activities and approaches, and evaluation.
Analysis of evaluation data collected during the first 2 years of the grant indicated that the Utah Community Partnership for Character Development legitimized the teaching of values and contributed to a community-wide awareness of their importance. Teachers' awareness of the importance and legitimacy of teaching values in the school increased. Schools reported a decrease in discipline referrals, fewer student fights and confrontations, decreased vandalism, fewer tardiness, and an increase in positive behaviors such as interacting more kindly and respectfully with students and teachers, better attendance, improved achievement and greater student involvement in extracurricular activities.