The Guilford County Board of Education expects school staff to provide an environment that teaches, models, and encourages character development throughout the school day and in every aspect of school life.
Guilford County Schools (GCS) will have programs and activities that support efforts that foster character development. Character development is not an add-on or separate program; rather, teachers and other school personnel take advantage of opportunities presented in the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, throughout the school day or in the community to teach and reinforce character development and ethical decision-making in students.
Thus, K-12 core academic areas as well as before and after-school care, athletics, co-curricular activities, special events and programs, advisory teams and committees, and other aspects of school and community life can all serve as character development opportunities.
Character development programs in GCS will include, but are not limited to, a focus on the following seven traits:
Courage: Having the determination to do the right thing even when others don't; having the strength to follow your conscience rather than the crowd; attempting difficult things that are worthwhile.
Integrity: Having the inner strength to be truthful, trustworthy and honest in all things; acting justly and honorably.
Kindness: Being considerate, courteous, helpful and understanding of others; showing care, compassion, friendship and generosity; treating others as you would like to be treated.
Perseverance: Being persistent in the pursuit of worthy objectives in spite of difficulty, opposition or discouragement; exhibiting patience and having the determination and strength to try again when confronted with delays, mistakes or failures.
Respect: Showing high regard for other people, for self, for property, and for country; and, understanding that all people have value as human beings.
Responsibility: Being dependable in carrying out obligations and duties; showing reliability and consistency in words and conduct; being accountable for your own actions; being committed to active involvement in your school and community.
Self-Discipline: Demonstrating hard work and commitment to purpose; regulating yourself for improvement and restraining from inappropriate behaviors; being in proper control of your words, actions, impulses and desires; doing your best in all situations.
All Employees to Model Character Traits
School and district staff members will ensure that appropriate behavior is practiced, demonstrated, modeled and reinforced by students and adults within an environment of mutual respect, equality, compassion and dignity.
All employees will also develop collaborative partnerships with parents and families, community members and groups, local businesses, faith-based organizations and others to model and reinforce character development in students and to develop school-based and district level character development initiatives.
Teachers in GCS will use service learning as an instructional strategy to link student opportunities for positive action in the community to content standards and goals in the North Carolina Standard Course of Study. GCS curriculum staff will develop K-12 content resources to facilitate teachers' implementation of this instructional strategy.
Service learning is a way of teaching and learning that connects positive and meaningful action in the community with academic learning, personal growth and civic responsibility. Service learning helps develop citizenship and good character, while providing direct connections to the academic curriculum.
High School Service Learning Award and/or Diploma
High school students will be eligible to earn an Exemplary Service Learning Award and an optional, locally-developed Service Learning Diploma as follows:
- Starting at the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year, students who complete more than 100 hours of service learning activities and/or community service will be eligible to receive the Exemplary Service Learning Award.
- Starting at the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year, students who complete 250 hours of service learning activities and/or community service will be eligible to earn a Service Learning Diploma. Students who complete the requirements will receive a special diploma and will be distinguished by wearing a service cord at their high school graduations.
A streamlined district-wide process will be used to track student service learning hours to determine eligibility for earning a service learning award and/or diploma. This process will also provide a means for monitoring school and district progress toward meeting the goals of the GCS Strategic Plan. The tracking system will be developed in partnership with schools.