Old Bridge Township Public Schools was named a 2020 New Jersey District of Character (NJDOC). It will maintain this status for a period of five years, through 2025.

In addition to this district recognition, six schools from Old Bridge Public Schools were named 2020 New Jersey Schools of Character (NJSOC).  They are: M. Scott Carpenter Elementary School, Memorial Elementary School, William A. Miller Elementary School, Walter M. Schirra Elementary School, Southwood Elementary School, and Old Bridge High School. 

The district’s score sheet, as well as each elementary school’s score sheet, have been forwarded to Character.org for consideration in the National Schools of Character program. An evaluator will contact each of them to schedule a site visit.  The purpose of the site visit is to further evaluate each of the six schools’ and the district’s implementation of the 11 Principles. Site visits are scheduled between February and April.

National District of Character will be announced in May 2020 and honored at the character.org National Forum set for Oct. 1-3 in Washington, DC.

“On behalf of Character.org and the entire review team, congratulations again and thank you for your commitment to implementing a quality character initiative and helping form good character in our communities,” said Lori Soifer, director, Schools of Character for Character.org.

The district as well as Carpenter, Memorial, Miller, Schirra, and Southwood elementary schools and Old Bridge High School received state recognition, after each submitted lengthy applications, including information regarding the district as well as individual school’s overview and character education journey.

Each year, schools and districts are selected that demonstrate through a rigorous evaluation process that their focus on character development has had a positive impact on academic achievement, student behavior, and school climate. Selected schools are then expected to serve as models for other schools, helping them to achieve the same results.

Assistant Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Hoeker expressed her excitement over the news. She was principal at Madison Park when the school earned the recognition; 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 11 elementary schools.

“Social Emotional Wellness is in the forefront of our effort to educate the whole child,” said Hoeker. “Culture and Climate within our schools remains a priority in establishing a positive foundation that emphasizes student voice and leadership, and the process of recertification through Character.org provides us with the guidelines and structure to continue to ensure we meet our goals. I am proud of our OB community, our students and staff for continuing the conversation and showing growth in all areas.”

On learning that Carpenter School received recertification, Principal Christopher McCue said, “We are thrilled to be designated a State School of Character.  The Carpenter School community has worked hard to embrace character education by infusing it in all areas of our curriculum and throughout our school.”

Memorial Principal Raymond Payton said since the elementary school was first named a National School of Character in 2010,  it has adopted the “Just Do The Right Thing” slogan, has earned three Promising Practices, and has added much value to the school and community.

Payton said the one word that describes the climate at Memorial Elementary School is relationships. “These strong relationships are the basis for building character in all of our students,” he said.  “We strive to understand our students…thoughts, fears, hopes, dreams, and obstacles to those dreams.  Character education is not just verbiage that is tossed around on special days.  It’s ingrained in our classrooms, and it’s the foundation for every policy.”

Principal Kim Giles said Miller School is delighted to once again be selected as a State School of Character. 

“The students and staff make good character a priority at school daily,” she said.  “We look forward to our continued positive character journey.”

Principal Courtney Lowery said she is “happy to be part of the Schirra community. The kindness shown by students and staff alike every day is inspiring. I look forward to continuing on this journey toward being recertified as a National School of Character.”

Old Bridge High School Principal Vincent Sasso commended the Character Education Team, who he said did “an amazing job capturing the true spirit of our OBHS family.  The compassion and generosity of our school community is second to none. I am so proud and thankful to be a part of this journey.” 

OBTPS would like to extend its gratitude to our community partners who sponsored our State applications:

Old Bridge Township Public Schools – Tony Cid, Cid Agency, Inc.

Old Bridge High School – Ivy Masters Learning Center

Carpenter School – An Eye to the Future

Miller School – Ultimate Party Central and the Keller Family

Schirra School – Friendly’s of Old Bridge

Southwood School – Eisinger’s Lawn Service