Six Old Bridge Education Programs Earn Promising Practice Awards by Character.org
Six Old Bridge education programs, demonstrating effective strategies that develop good character in youngsters, received Promising Practice awards by Character.org for 2018.
In addition, Madison Park Elementary School was recertified as a National School of Character for 2018.
Programs submitted by Leroy Gordon Cooper, Walter M. Schirra, Madison Park, and Memorial elementary schools, and two practices from Old Bridge High School will be recognized at the 25th anniversary celebration of Character.org at its annual conference set for Oct. 4-7 in Washington, DC.
The winning Promising Practices are:
- Coop’s Little Pantry, Leroy Gordon Cooper Elementary School. The pantry was created to enhance the community while simultaneously assisting families in need. The pantry operates under the mantra of taking what you need and leaving what you can, which creates an opportunity for those needing help acquiring basic necessities without stigmas and insecurities of asking for help
- Project BLUE (Building Leadership Understanding & Education), Walter M. Schirra Elementary School. Project BLUE is a student-led program that fosters and builds friendships between children with Autism and the general education population through play activities.
- Halloween Costume Swap and Shop, Madison Park Elementary School. The Halloween Swap and Shop is a local service program facilitated by the Madison Park Elementary School community that collects and provides Halloween costumes for children who are in need.
- Hope's Heroes, Memorial Elementary School. Hope's Heroes mission is to improve the school’s social climate for every learner, through social service learning and student driven education.
- OBHS Attendance Madness, Old Bridge High School. In an effort to foster self-motivation, this practice is a collaborative effort among all community stakeholders to measure, assess, and encourage regular attendance among staff and students
- Project Unified, Old Bridge High School. Project Unified is an in-school and after school program that creates lasting relationships between general and special education students.
In 2018, Character.org awarded 258 Promising Practices to schools, districts and youth-serving organizations in the United States as well as internationally. According to the Character.org website, “recipients of Promising Practices are awarded because they planned and implemented unique initiatives that foster collaboration and good character building. The initiatives this year were diverse and ranged from peer mentoring to random acts of kindness.”
Each practice must be tied to one or more of Character.org’s 11 Principles of Character Education. Character.org is a national, nonprofit group based in Washington, DC that works with schools and districts to educate, inspire, and empower young people to be ethical and engaged citizens. The organization is led by educators who are dedicated to teaching youth how to be both smart and good through the advancement of quality character development in all schools.
Character.org sponsors the annual program to showcase innovative best practices that demonstrate impacts across the nation and abroad. Charater.org encourages educators with similar needs to learn from and even replicate these initiatives.
This year the application fees for the 2018 Promising Practices were paid for through community sponsors. They are: JEI Learning Center of Old Bridge; Ivy Masters Learning Center, Paul Pscolka; Prep2XL, LLC, John DiClerico; Stress Care of NJ; and NJ Spine & Wellness.
Assistant Superintendent Kathleen Hoeker commended staff and students for their Best Practices awards as well as the recertification of Madison Park Elementary School as a National School of Character.
Hoeker was principal at Madison Park Elementary when the school earned recognition as a School of Character; she also is a former principal of the Alan B. Shepard School, the Old Bridge School District’s first National School of Character, and she has led teams to bring character education to the district’s 12 elementary schools, two middle schools, and the high school. Three years ago, the Old Bridge Township Public School District was named one of three National Districts of Character in the United States by character.org.
“Old Bridge administrators, staff and students continue to plan and implement innovate practices that have a lasting impact on our students and the greater community,” said Hoeker. “I am particularly proud of our students who lead many of these initiatives and continue to serve as role models for others to emulate.”