GCS Recognized Nationally for Character Development

Guilford County Schools’ Character Development Initiative earned the district the title of District of Distinction by District Administration magazine.

The District of Distinction program recognizes established initiatives that show quantifiable benefits and that could be replicated by other districts.

The initiative started when funding for federal Safe Schools and Drug Free programs was cut. The district then moved the focus from intervention and prevention to developing students’ characters.

GCS developed lesson plans for every grade level that matched the standard course of study and trained teachers, counselors and high school student ambassadors.

“Our students at all levels are embracing this program as a way to look at math, science, history, foreign languages and all subjects in a different light – a light that lets them see that they matter, and that they add value to their schools, their community and this world,” says Charlos Smith Banks, executive director of student services and character development.

Student surveys indicate that 94 percent of students feel students respect each other. In three years, the number of out-of-school suspensions related to non-compliance and discourteous acts decreased 25 percent for the district’s 126 schools. High school students have completed more than 818,000 hours of service to the community.

“We are pleased to honor Guilford County Schools as a District of Distinction,” says JD Solomon, editorial director at District Administration magazine. “Like all our honorees, the district serves as a model for school leaders across the country.”