GCS Named National District of Character

Students holding up a district of character banner Breaking News from Washington, D.C. - Guilford County Schools (GCS) was named a 2013 National District of Character. GCS is one of only three districts in the country to earn the recognition, which is part of the National Schools and Districts of Character Program, administered by the Character Education Partnership (CEP) in Washington, D.C. This is also the first time a school district in North Carolina has won this national award.

In February, GCS was named the North Carolina District of Character, and learned it was selected as a national finalist from a pool of 131 schools and districts across the country. On Friday, May 10, CEP announced the 25 schools, three districts and one charter district to win the distinction.

"It is a big honor to win this national recognition," said GCS Superintendent Maurice "Mo" Green. "We launched our character development program in 2010 with three fundamentals: character education, service-learning and civic education. Since then, our students and staff have embraced the concepts, and it is having a positive impact on academics, student behavior and school culture."

Character, Service and Safety is one of the five areas of the new Strategic Plan 2016. Character development and service-learning were big pieces of the Strategic Plan 2012, which focused on graduating students who demonstrated high academic achievement, strength of character and service to others. The 2016 plan builds on that foundation, with goals that include integrating character education and service-learning with the Common Core State Standards, increasing character-development opportunities for students outside of school and recognizing students and staff members who demonstrate excellence in character development.

All 124 GCS schools are engaged in character development and service-learning. In the 2012-13 school year, GCS students performed more than 200,000 hours of service to schools and our community. Approximately 400 students in the Class of 2013 will receive a service-learning diploma for completing more than 225 hours of service during high school; more than 300 students will receive an exemplary award for completing more than 100 hours.

In June, 2012, five GCS schools - Southern High, Weaver Academy, Vandalia Elementary, Oak Hill Elementary and Jefferson Elementary - earned the Character Education Partnership's Promising Practices Award, which showcases innovative best practices in character education. GCS earned five of the 297 awards given to individual schools, districts and organizations from across the U.S., as well as from Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong and Mexico.

CEP will honor these schools and districts at the 20th National Forum on Character Education , to be held October 24-27, 2013 in Washington, DC. Click here for more information about the National Schools and Districts of Character Program and the 2013 National Winners .