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Jonas Salk Middle School Selected as State School of Character

The New Jersey Alliance for Social, Emotional, and Character Development (NJASECD) has selected Jonas Salk Middle School as a 2017 New Jersey School of Character. The school will maintain this status for a period of three years.

The school’s application has been forwarded to, formally known as Character Education (CEP), in Washington, DC for consideration in the National Schools of Character program.

Salk submitted a lengthy application to NJASECD, including the 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.

Salk will be honored at a special recognition ceremony during the NJASECD Annual Conference at 8:30 a.m. on May 19, at Rider University. Among those invited to attend the ceremony are: administrators,, parents, students, and teachers who may have played a significant role in building and sustaining the character education initiative.

Since its inception, has awarded more than 500 schools with the distinction of State School of Character. Designation is based on’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education, which include providing students with opportunities for moral action, fostering shared leadership, and engaging families and communities as partners in character-building efforts.

 “I am proud to be principal of Jonas Salk Middle School where our staff, students and families recognize and value the importance of consistently demonstrating good character,” said Principal William Rezes. “This recognition is a testament to all of the great things that we do each and every day at Jonas Salk Middle School.”

In March and April, all national finalists will undergo an intensive screening process that includes site visits, conference calls, and further analysis of the impact of character-related efforts on academics, student behavior, and school culture as part of the consideration to be named a National School of Character.

With the addition of Jonas Salk Middle School, Old Bridge boasts a total of 15 State and/or National Schools of Character, plus the National District of Character.

Assistant Superintendent 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 12 elementary schools as well as the high school.

“Old Bridge Public Schools demonstrates our commitment to character with all 15 schools recognized as schools of character,” said Hoeker. “The Jonas Salk staff, students and parents serve as role models for others to follow as they continue the movement to uphold our common core values. It is another proud day in Old Bridge.”