Q&A with Dr. Gallon: Character Education
Plaintalker: Is this an original program or one already in wide use?
Dr. Gallon: This is an original, new districtwide initiative that is reflected in the 2008-2012 District Strategic Plan. Several schools may have done some infusion of character education in the past; however, this is a Districtwide initiative that will involve all schools via a monthly, unifying focus and recognition.
Plaintalker: How are the traits being explained to children, especially at the elementary level?
Dr. Gallon: The traits are being introduced and taught to the students in various ways throughout the District. Specifically at the elementary school level, they are being taught via literacy across the curriculum, and throughout various content areas. More important, these traits are not only expected to be taught and learned, but more important, modeled by students, staff, and parents of each school community. In this way, students can see a true manifestation of what it means to have integrity, be honest, persevere, etc. A student can be selected by his or school as the Student of the Month for a particular trait by virtue of what they do that symbolizes that trait at their school.
Plaintalker: Are there materials in schools to reinforce the awareness of traits?
Dr. Gallon: Yes, Schools are using the six pillars of character that addresses all of the values for our Character Education Initiative. This information was given to school principals.
Plaintalker: The district formerly had a program for social-emotional learning. Is this current program related in any way?
Dr. Gallon: Yes, the program for social-emotional learning addressed character education via six pillars of character that helped students review and identify with certain values based on the behaviors and or school infractions that they are exhibiting. This initiative extends this effort districtwide with alternate means for learning and/or demonstrating the monthly character trait. Further, the recognition of students for such display of positive traits has been instituted.
According to a chart Dr. Gallon furnished, traits for the balance of the 2008-09 school year are Honesty/Fairness in March, Cooperation/Good Sportsmanship in April, Loyalty/Citizenship in May and Courage in June.
Certainly the current generation of adults in power has been tarnished by the lack of character exhibited by major corporate leaders, financial institutions and politicians, as we see in the news. Reminding young people of the need for good character and ethical behavior can only strengthen the next cadre of citizens and leaders. Click here for more information on the six pillars of character.