Recognize your Kids of CharacterThe following guest commentary was printed in the Visalia Times-Delta on September 2, 2011 in preparation of National CHARACTER COUNTS! week, October 16-22. The piece was written by Kelley Petty, Coordinator of the CHARACTER COUNTS! program operated by the Tulare County Office of Education.
CHARACTER COUNTS! Week 2011
CHARACTER COUNTS! in the past, present and future
Sixteen years ago, Tulare County began a pilot program to enhance the development of character education in our schools. Little did we know the future would hold such a commitment and impact for the lives of our children, schools, and communities.
For the past 16 years, the entire Tulare County community of over 200 schools has set aside a special time to turn that pilot program into a legacy. This annual event is known as CHARACTER COUNTS! Week, a time when we will celebrate our Kids of Character - from kindergarteners to seniors in high school. This year, we commemorate the event October 17-22 along with 8 million other young people in over 54 countries. This worldwide event is about having fun while emphasizing the need for good character.
For those of you not familiar with this annual celebration, the event is promoted by CHARACTER COUNTS!, a national, non-profit coalition founded by the Josephson Institute of Ethics. CHARACTER COUNTS! Week is a celebration of the values that form the core of this program. They're known as the Six Pillars of Character: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. These values, which are common to a democratic society, form a universal language enabling parents, educators and community members to teach and build character in youth. They are religiously and politically neutral, transcending cultural and socio-economic differences. In short, they are for all of us.
Our celebration in Tulare County includes the partnership of the Tulare County Office of Education and the Visalia Times-Delta working together to sponsor the "Kids of Character" Awards. With your help, we are able to recognize thousands of our youth that demonstrate good character in their homes, schools, and youth organizations. During the month of September, the Visalia Times-Delta will print nomination forms for the Kids of Character Award. Using this form or our online version at www.tcoe.org/kidsofcharacter we urge you to take the time to nominate youngsters from your community. Students receiving the Kids of Character Award will receive a CHARACTER COUNTS! certificate suitable for framing, a CHARACTER COUNTS! pencil, and a Tulare County CHARACTER COUNTS! school folder. In addition, their names will appear in the Visalia Times-Delta or on-line at www.visaliatimesdelta.com during CHARACTER COUNTS! Week.
Additionally, since so many of our youth have exceptional character, the Visalia-Times Delta will interview, photograph and share the stories of one student every day during CHARACTER COUNTS! Week - October 17-22. To culminate the week, we will highlight 100 additional Tulare County students "walking the walk" of good character in a two-page display featuring a picture and short narrative of each honoree. All of these activities show how Tulare County Schools have set the standard all over the world for providing a solid character education framework.
Children represent 25% of our population and 100% of our future. That's a most significant observation. At the age of 87, the American actor and humorist George Burns, who lived to be 100, once said, "I look to the future because that's where I'm going to spend the rest of my life."
So will we.
County Superintendent of Schools
Tulare County Office of Education
2637 West Burrel
P.O. Box 5091
Visalia, CA 93278-5091
phone: (559) 733-6300
fax: (559) 627-5219
TTY (hearing impaired): (559) 733-6307
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