The Maryland Center for Character Education at Stevenson University (MCCE@SU), in partnership with the Maryland State Department of Education, has recognized 7 Carroll County schools in its 2017 awards program.
The awards program recognizes schools and school systems that demonstrate an outstanding character education initiative yielding positive results in student behavior, school climate, and academic performance. The schools are selected by their county Superintendent and/or their Character Education Coordinator.
The following schools received School of the Year Awards:
- Elmer Wolfe Elementary School
- Francis Scott Key High School
- Mechanicsville Elementary School
- Mt. Airy Elementary School
- Oklahoma Road Middle School
- Piney Ridge Elementary School
- West Middle School.
Elmer Wolfe Elementary School promotes core ethical values as the basis of good character through its PBIS program. A school-wide approach for behavior focuses on the positive and sets clear expectations for students. Elmer Wolfe has chosen to focus on four components, each one going along with the letters in the word STAR. They include Show Respect, Take Pride, Act Responsibly, and Ready to Learn. These character traits are taught in a variety of ways, including class discussions, classroom guidance lessons, and full school programs that promote respect, such as the kindness chain that is making its way through the building and a giving tree that stresses the importance of helping others.
The Character Education Program at Francis Scott Key High School started 6 years ago when the staff and administration realized that there was a need to promote positive behavior in order to reduce discipline numbers and promote attendance. Programs were established to help encourage student attendance, discipline, and GPA, and a PBIS program was created. Since its inception, the Character Education Program initiatives have proven to be positive changes. Attendance percentages are higher and discipline numbers have dropped drastically over the years. FSK has been recognized as an MCCE School of the Year for the last 5 years and has achieved the status of a State School of Character and a National School of Character through Character.org.
Mechanicsville Elementary School students strive to demonstrate CARE (Cooperation, Attitude, Responsibility, Effort) behaviors every day. To help build mindfulness, students utilize glitter bottles and belly breathing as part of the school counselor’s monthly character lessons and discussions. Students have learned how mindfulness relates to three parts of the brain and, in turn, helps them incorporate good character into their everyday actions.
Mt. Airy Elementary School just completed its first year as a PBIS school. According to principal Deborah Winson, “We are thrilled to be recognized as a Maryland School of Character for focusing student behavior on respect, responsibility, and resilience. Way to go, Cardinals!”
This year’s Character Education Program at Oklahoma Road Middle School is focused on a new initiative created by the Character Education Committee. The program consists of promoting “The ORMS Way.” The ORMS Way consists of four character traits: O-Ownership, R-Respect, M-Motivation, S-Social Awareness. Monthly lessons are completed during FLEX time emphasizing these traits. Twister tickets are given to students who demonstrate these traits. Students earning tickets have the opportunity to receive prizes and attend the monthly celebration party. Two students from each team are recognized as Students of the Month. These students receive letters home to their parents and their pictures are posted on the Celebration Board. In addition, many of the clubs and after school activities, such as the Multicultural Club, SHOUT, and SGA, are involved in community service and promote a positive school environment.
At Piney Ridge Elementary School, the character traits of Respect, Responsibility, and Resilience and the behaviors associated with these traits are the foundation of the “PAWsitive Behavior” Program – which stands for Perform Respectfully, Act Responsibly, Work Resiliently. Students take the “Piney Pledge” promising to practice the three traits. Piney Ridge has been named a State Character School by Character.org and was recently recognized at Stevenson University as the only school in Carroll County that received this state recognition.
West Middle School focuses on Respect, Integrity, and Preparedness. Students are encouraged to RIP IT UP daily. They are rewarded with tickets, positive office referrals, and student of the month recognition, as well as quarterly grade level rewards. The school staff believes in celebrating students and having them take ownership over their actions, character, and attitude by being clear/consistent with the expectations as they attend West Middle School. Students may turn in their tickets weekly for prizes that they select from the RIP IT UP Reward Center. On a daily basis, they are given the encouragement and opportunity to display their West Middle Pride by making good choices. The focus this year has been setting students up for Success: S – Safety; U - Utilize Devices Appropriately; C - Caring for Others; C - Communicate with Students and Adults; E - Equality for All; S - Stay Focused on RIP IT UP Qualities; S – Setting Yourself Up for Success.