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Old Bridge Elementary Program Earns 2016 Promising Practice Awards by

A program implemented at the Alan B. Shepard 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.

Shepard 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.”

Shepard School was one of the 326 recipients of the 2016 Promising Practices for its “Abilities Awareness” project.

The school organized various activities that fostered relationships between students with disabilities and their peers. Students created and ran demonstrations for their peers that simulated such disabilities as dyslexia, apraxia, and visual-perceptual disorders.

This year the school also partnered with the Special Olympics to bring unified sports to its fourth and fifth graders.

“It is very exciting to see that the efforts for character development and character education, which began here at Alan B. Shepard School years ago, have continued to thrive and have become such an integral part of the curriculum and school community expectations,” said Shepard School Principal Joseph Marinzoli.  “As seen by the promising practices that have been recognized by as well as being named a National School of Character for the second time, I believe the faculty, staff, students and whole Shepard community must be doing the right thing!”