The vitality and viability of our democratic way of life are dependent on all students developing into responsible and caring citizens who respect themselves, others, and the world in which they live. Character education is the process through which students are provided opportunities to learn and demonstrate democratic principles and core ethical values such as civic responsibility, compassion, honesty, integrity, and self-discipline. The Department shall identify a common core of ethical values which will be promoted throughout the public school system and serve as standards for student behavior and character development.

Character education must be incorporated into the curriculum at each grade level in the public schools. For character education to flourish, it must be infused into the culture of each classroom as well as the entire school. Students need continuing, real-life opportunities to learn to act morally and ethically. The ultimate objective is the development of students who make virtues integral parts of their personality.

Effective character education requires moral leadership from school administrators, staff and students. Moreover, parents and community members need to be enlisted as full partners in the schools' character-building program to strengthen its effectiveness. Evaluation of character education, based on improvements in student conduct, is essential within each school as well as the entire school system.

Approved: 09/97 (Designated as Board Policy 2101);
11/03/05 (Redesignated as Board Policy 2109)