Step 1: Assess Your Current Reality
At County High School, we are starting to see an alarming trend that is starting to affect the success of our student’s academic achievement, a decline in moral character. In high school, we are so worried about what a student knows on a standardized state test that we forget to teach them how to be a well-rounded person. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “To educate a person in mind but not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” (Lickona, 1991, p. 4) The school has seen a 30% increase in discipline referrals about cheating, disrespect, and inappropriate behavior over the last five years. “Behaviors such as lying, stealing, not performing well in school, skipping class, or exhibiting general disruptive actions are fairly common among teens.” (Chen, 2013, p. 1) The lack of character that these students are coming in with is starting to affect all aspects of the campus; the athletic programs and the fine arts programs. In the past two years, two basketball players were suspended from school and kicked off the team for marijuana use before they entered school on a school day, two baseball players were excused from the baseball program for sneaking and drinking vodka on the school bus before a baseball game, and four girl soccer players were disciplined for leaving the school they were competing at, without permission, to go to Target to get snacks while they wait for their contest. These athletes are supposed to represent the school in a positive, leadership capacity and promote our school so that future athletes will want to attend. If our athletes are acting in this manner, one can imagine how the rest of the student population behaves on campus.
What needs to be done is to teach the students what it means to have character, to act and behave in a manner that will bring a positive light to the campus and improve academic achievement throughout the campus. I am proposing is a program that State University has partnered with and is using to help with their students and athletes on their campus called “Character Matters.” This program teaches students and athletes basic character skills needed to be successful in life and in society. This program is easy to incorporate into the classroom for all students and does not take away from the valuable instruction time for each subject area. The program is also versatile enough to use in a big group or small group settings, and can also be used for people of ages, including parents. This program will be led by teachers and coaches on campus, with help from the GCU program coaches that will help get the program started on campus. By involving the teachers, students, parents, and community leaders in this program, not only will academic success happen on the campus, but we will strengthen a community by developing men and women with good moral character that will become leaders in the community.
Step 2: Vision
The vision that comes...