In partnership with the Virginia Character Education Project
In partnership with families and communities, we have a responsibility to teach and model universal character qualities through an intentional, proactive, and comprehensive approach that transcends cultural, religious, and socioeconomic differences.
Character Education, within Albemarle County Schools, looks different in every school. Some schools use CHARACTER COUNTS! to focus on the 6 pillars of character - caring, trustworthiness, fairness, citizenship, respect, and responsibility. Other schools may use a different approach, but the goal is the same - to integrate character education into the school culture and develop a sense of respect and responsibility within the staff and students. Character education should never be viewed as an "add-on" program of something to do, but rather a comprehensive approach which touches all aspects of the school climate from classroom management, to teaching strategies, to the playground and athletic fields. It should be an integral part of the whole school and community. To provide division wide consistency, each school should base their character education focus on the Eleven Principles of Character Education, established by the Character Education Partnership.
- Character education promotes core ethical values as the basis of good character
- "Character" must be comprehensively defined to include thinking, feeling, and behavior.
- Effective character education requires an intentional, proactive, and comprehensive approach that promotes the core values in all phases of school life.
- The school must be a caring community.
- To develop character, students need opportunities for moral action.
- Effective character education includes a meaningful and challenging academic curriculum that respects all learners and helps them succeed.
- Character education should strive to develop students' intrinsic motivation.
- The school staff must become a learning and moral community in which all share responsibility for character education and attempt to adhere to the same core values that guide the education of students.
- Character education requires moral leadership from both staff and students.
- The school must recruit parents and community members as full partners in the character-building effort.
- Evaluation of character education should assess the character of the school, the school staff's functioning as character educators, and the extent to which students manifest good character.
In 2005, the Code of Virginia was revised and states, "the inappropriateness of bullying should be addressed through character education." Albemarle elementary and middle schools are trained in the Olweus Bullying Prevention Model, see below.
For approximately 30 years, Dan Olweus has been involved in research and intervention work in the area of bully/victim problems among school children and youth. Already in 1970, he started a large-scale project which is now generally regarded as the first scientific study of bully/victim problems in the world. (Published as a book in Scandinavia in 1973, and in 1978 in the USA under the title Aggression in the schools: Bullies and whipping boys.) In the 1980's, he conducted the first systematic intervention study against bullying in the world which documented a number of quite positive effects of his "Bullying Prevention Program" (e.g., Olweus, 1991, 1992, 1994; Olweus & Limber, 1999). Towards the end of the century, Dan Olweus and his research and intervention group at the University of Bergen have conducted several new large-scale intervention projects, again gaining good results. One of these studies forms part of an international project on bully/victim problems comprising researchers from Japan, England, the Netherlands, the USA, and Norway.
School-level components include:
- Formation of a Bullying Prevention Coordinating Committee
- Distribution of an anonymous student questionnaire assessing the nature and prevalence of bullying
- Training for committee members and staff
- Development of a coordinated system of supervision
- Adoption of school-wide rules against bullying
- Development of appropriate positive and negative consequences for students' behavior
- Holding staff discussion groups related to the program
- Involvement of parents
Classroom-level components include:
- Reinforcement of school-wide rules against bullying
- Holding regular classroom meetings with students to increase knowledge and empathy
- Informational meetings with parents
Individual-level components include:
- Interventions with children who bully
- Interventions with children who are bullied
- Discussions with parents of involved students
Central Office Contact
Gloria Rockhold, School and Community Relations
401 McIntire Road
Charlottesville, VA 22902