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East Middle Named Maryland School of Character

Release Date: 2/10/2009 8:29:30 AM

East Middle School has been named a Maryland State School of Character for the third year. East Middle is one of only four Maryland schools to receive this recognition and will now advance to the national level competition as a nominee for the National School of Character awards program.

The Maryland State School of Character awards program is sponsored by the Maryland Center for Character Education and the Character Education Partnership. The program recognizes schools or districts that demonstrate outstanding school climate and academic performance.

Over the past several years, the implementation of East Middle School’s character education program has coincided with a steady increase in the school’s academic performance as measured by Adequate Yearly Progress and a steady decline in student discipline referrals. The character education program focuses on three overarching character traits – Respect, Responsibility, and Relationships. These traits are embedded into every school function, whether it is academic, extracurricular, or otherwise.

Character education has become an integral part of the school culture and has been infused with the schools Positive Behavior Intervention Strategies (PBIS) initiatives. The emphasis has been on rewarding positive student behavior. Teachers use “Caught Being Good Coins” as a way to recognize desired behaviors. Negative behavior is viewed as an opportunity to help students learn from their mistakes, and discipline is always intended to be educational rather than punitive.

Each of the school’s teacher teams chooses a Student of the Month who exemplifies other character traits the school is attempting to instill in its students. Faculty Advisors act as confidants and/or advocates for students and help them develop individualized “student maps” that chart the student’s progress in achieving academic and character education goals. In addition, community service is encouraged through a variety of activities sponsored by school-based organizations. Activities include food drives, adopting families in need over the holidays, and fundraisers to benefit various charities.

As a Maryland School of Character and a state nominee to the National School of Character Awards process, East Middle School will be recognized throughout the state and at an awards luncheon to be held in September.

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