Cheesequake, McDivitt, Voorhees Elementary Schools Earn National Recognition

  • NSOC

    Cheesequake Elementary School, James McDivitt Elementary School, and Raymond E. Voorhees Elementary School each earned national recognition by as a 2019 National School of Character.

 , a non-profit group that supports the advancement of character development in schools, communities, and workplaces across the US and globally, will honor the schools at its National Forum on Character Education set for Oct 24-27, in Washington, DC.


    Founded in 1993, is a national nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. It works with communities including organizations, schools, families, workplaces, and sports to inspire, educate, and empower people to be ethical and compassionate citizens. is a membership organization dedicated to growth and success through the advancement of quality character development in schools and communities through programs and resources.


    Four years ago, Old Bridge Township Public Schools was named one of three National Districts of Character in the United States by (formerly The Character Education Partnership), who selects schools and districts that demonstrate that their focus on character development has had a positive impact on academic achievement, student behavior, and school climate. Selected schools are expected to serve as models for other schools, helping them to achieve the same results.


    Through an in-depth and rigorous evaluation process, Cheesequake, McDivitt and Voorhees elementary schools were recertified as National Schools of Character. They are among the 88 schools and three districts in 24 states named National Schools of Character as well as one school that was named a China School of Character for 2019.


    Selection is based on’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education, a framework to assist schools in providing students with opportunities for moral action, fostering shared leadership, and engaging families and communities as partners in the character-building effort.


    “We are pleased to announce the 2019 National Schools and Districts of Character today,” said Doug Karr,’s President and CEO. “These schools’ representatives, including educators, parents, and students, are working together to create stronger communities focused on character. We are honored to validate their efforts and continue coaching them along their journeys.”


    Assistant Superintendent Kathleen Hoeker commended staff and students for their awards.


    “Social emotional learning is a cornerstone to student success,” said Hoeker. “Our schools integrate character education the moment students walk through the door with the goal of teaching our students to incorporate these foundational humanistic skills both in and out of the classroom. I continue to be impressed with our schools and the determination to emphasize the value and importance of character education.”


    Hoeker was principal at Madison Park Elementary School when it earned recognition as a School of Character; she also is a former principal of the Alan B. Shepard Elementary School, Old Bridge’s first National School of Character. She has led teams to bring character education to the district’s 12 elementary schools, two middle schools, and the high school. 


    When learning that her school was recertified as a National School of Character, Courtney Lowery, principal at Voorhees Elementary School, said: “We are so grateful to receive this honor once again. It confirms the hard work of everyone in our school community to make Voorhees School a place where the whole child is developed.”


    Cheesequake Principal Thomas Ferry said the students, staff, parents, and his entire school community are “truly honored to be recertified as a National School of Character. We continue to focus on both character/school climate and high caliber academics concurrently. The dozens of programs and practices that comprise our character education program provide a strong, warm, nurturing school climate, a foundation that primes our students for optimal academic growth and success.”


    Principal Laurie Coletti said the staff, students, and parents of McDivitt School “have worked hard and embraced the core values of good character. Our school supports the Old Bridge community, focuses on service learning, and empowers our students to be leaders. I am so proud of the efforts made to be outstanding citizens who show good character.”