Old Bridge Elementary School Earns Two Promising Practice Awards by Character.org   

James A. McDivitt Elementary School received two Promising Practice awards by Character.org for 2021, bringing the Old Bridge Public School District’s total to 46 education programs, demonstrating effective strategies that develop good character in youngsters.

The two programs submitted by McDivitt School will be honored by Character.org at its National Forum in Washington, D.C., which be held Oct. 20-22.

This year’s character development practices and initiatives included:

· James A. McDivitt Elementary School, “Adopt the OBPD,” submitted by Mrs. Addeo, Mrs. Linnell, Mr. Shapiro, Mrs. Larkin, Ms. Donovan, Mrs. Trelles, Mrs. Seitz, Mrs. Camillary.

"Adopt the OBPD" offers the McDivitt school community a unique opportunity to work collaboratively, show good character, and thank those who put their lives on the line daily for the school’s safety. They show good character every day while keeping the community safe. Our students thank the OBPD not only through their words, but through their actions. Our students grow up knowing that police officers are our friends, and they do what they do for love, care, and concern for our community. In such a difficult time in our world with both the pandemic, and other unfortunate events that have taken place this year alone, it is important for our officers to know we are there to support them. McDivitt recognized the OBPD with student made ornaments, valentines, and badges. They also made and sent a Kudoboard, survival kits, candy bags, Flipgrids with jokes to make the police department smile, and potted mint plants for commitment.

· James A. McDivitt Elementary School, “Building Imaginative Lifelong Learners with STEM,” submitted by teachers: Mrs. Addeo, Mrs. Robertson, Mr. Andrews, Mrs. Reyes, Mrs. Finley, Ms. Cohen and PTA: Mrs. Rue, Mrs. Mondano, Mrs. Paton, Mrs. De Mino, Mrs. Archer, and Mrs. Cameron.

“Building Imaginative Lifelong Learners with STEM” offers students, families, staff, and the community, multiple opportunities throughout the school year to participate in hands-on STEM activities capturing student interest; promoting curiosity, questions, imagination, creativity, risk taking, and higher order thinking; and strengthening school, home, and community connections. By getting students interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, real-world

connections and applications are made. McDivitt held multiple virtual STEM nights and created STEM kits for each classroom.

Each Promising Practice is a “unique, effective, and replicable initiative that inspire “goodness in action” and contributes to the field of character development. The Promising Practice must be tied to one or more of Character.org’s 11 Principles of Character Education.  

Principal Laurie Anne Coletti commended the staff, students, and parents at James A. McDivitt Elementary School for working collaboratively to advocate for academics, good character, and the community.

“I am very grateful for the hard work and time that was given by all who championed these promising practices and made them so successful,” Coletti said. “I have an outstanding staff, wonderful parents, and fabulous students here at McDivitt and feel very honored to be part of this exemplary school.”

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.   

Assistant Superintendent Kathleen Hoeker initiated the district’s involvement with Character.org. during her tenure 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 Public School District’s first National School of Character, and she has led teams to bring character education to the district’s 11 elementary schools, two middle schools, and the high school.