Just four schools in North Carolina earned the title of State School of Character, and all four hail from Guilford County Schools (GCS).
Colfax Elementary, Southern Middle, Southern High and Southwest Middle were four of just 44 schools across the country to earn the title through the National Character Education Partnership.
Each school will hold their State School of Character designation for three years and serve as models of excellence in character, sharing best practices. The designation also makes the schools eligible for the national recognition.
“Guilford County Schools is a leader in character development for North Carolina and for the nation,” said Fay Gore, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction’s state character education coordinator. “Guilford County leaders have shown a commitment to developing ethical and caring citizens by becoming North Carolina’s first State and National District of Character in 2013 and now by having four schools selected as this year’s state schools of character – we salute your efforts!”
At Southern High, character and service-learning is a major component in many of their programs. The school’s growing health science program lets students volunteer in local nursing homes to gain practical experience, while giving back to the community. They also hold a blood drive each semester to help the American Red Cross.
At Southern Middle, teachers use the book "Teach Like a Champion" and the program "Heart of a Champion," which consistently reinforces positive character traits. The school’s middle school football team was recognized at the district’s State of Our Schools for serving as positive role models in character education.
Both Southwest Middle and Colfax Elementary are PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions Support) schools. These schools focus on using best evidence-based behavioral and academic practices for improving important academic and behavior outcomes for all students. Southwest and Colfax incorporate character education in its classrooms, integrating the district’s character traits into writing, reading and other service-learning projects.