Return to Headlines

Old Bridge Elementary Program Earns 2016 Promising Practice Awards by

A program implemented at the Leroy Gordon Cooper Elementary School was one of three Old Bridge education programs, which demonstrated effective strategies that develop good character in youngsters; it received a Promising Practice award by for 2016.

Cooper Elementary School will be honored on Oct. 14 and Oct. 15 at the National Forum on Character Education in Washington, DC.

The Promising Practices program highlights what is going well in classrooms. Each practice must be tied to one or more of’s 11 Principles of Character Education., 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. awarded 327 Promising Practices to schools, districts, and youth-serving groups from the US, Canada, China, Colombia, and Mexico this year. sponsors the annual program to showcase innovative best practices that demonstrate impacts across the nation and abroad. encourages educators with similar needs to learn from and even replicate these initiatives.

“These great ideas highlight the creative efforts of amazing teachers all across America – and the world,” said Dave Keller, program director at “It’s great to recognize what’s going well in the classroom. These practices represent practical, effective ways to develop empathy, enhance conflict resolution skills, and inspire good citizenship.”

Cooper School received the award for the "Readers of the Pack" program, which was created to address the needs of the school's growing English as a Second Language (ESL) population.

Students practiced their writing and oral skills as they discussed and learned appropriate ways of interacting with animals and people unfamiliar to them. Once a month, Monmouth County SPCA volunteer teams visited Cooper School so the students could work in concert with the dogs to develop their literacy and confidence.

“I am so proud of our Cooper ESL students, not only for their passion for reading, but also for their participation in this program,” said Cooper Principal Cathy Gramata. “The therapy dogs have served to instill a confidence in academics, as well as social-emotional growth. Thank you for recognizing everyone’s effort.”