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GCS Finalist for National District of Character
Just this afternoon, Guilford County Schools (GCS) was named a finalist in the 2013 National Schools and Districts of Character program. GCS now moves to the next level of the national competition, which includes a site visit and analysis of the impact the district's character-related efforts are having on academics, student behavior and school culture.
The National Schools and Districts of Character Program is administered by the Character Education Partnership (CEP) in Washington, D.C. GCS was selected as a national finalist from a pool of 131 schools and districts across the country. Only four other school districts were named finalists. The National Schools and Districts of Character will be announced in May.
"GCS students and staff are working hard to emphasize the importance of good character," said Brenda Elliott, executive director of Student Services and Character Development. "It is a huge honor to be named a national finalist. I am excited to show the evaluation committee the great things we are doing in character education and service-learning."
Earlier this month, GCS was named the 2013 North Carolina District of Character by the Social Studies Division of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. That win made the district eligible for the national competition.
Character, Service and Safety is one of the five areas of the new Strategic Plan 2016. Character development and service-learning were a big piece 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. Over two years, GCS high school students performed more than 200,500 hours of service to schools and our community. More than 500 seniors from the Class of 2012 earned the district's first service-learning diploma for completing 175 hours of service, and another 350 seniors earned the service-learning exemplary award for completing 75 hours of service.
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 Practice 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.