Community supporters characterized as generous

Public schools thank businesses that helped with education program

June 22, 2000|By Sandra Crockett | Sandra Crockett,SUN STAFF

It's been one school year since the Character Education Program was introduced in Carroll County public schools. Yesterday, a reception was held to thank people who helped to make it possible.

Barbara Guthrie, who chairs the Character Education Program steering committee, explained how businesses and others supported the program.

"One of the first things they did was sponsor 30-second radio spots on WTTR" in Westminster, she said.

Craig A. Clagett, a vice president at Carroll Community College, was one of those who sponsored the ads.

"A trait of the month was chosen and highlighted on WTTR radio," said Clagett, adding that the program was something the community college was happy to sponsor.

People in the community helped purchase T-shirts used as incentives for students, sponsored a Character Education Program logo contest and sponsored an appearance by motivational speaker Les Brown.

Positive values

The Character Education Program focuses on positive values such as respect, responsibility, integrity and self-confidence.

"It's intended to teach children basic values and ethics," said Guthrie. "The point is really to teach how to model character traits that our society was founded on."

Every school had an improvement team that determined the best way to implement the program, Guthrie said.

Most of the schools had morning announcements and some schools made posters or decorated bulletin boards highlighting the character traits.

The character traits were incorporated into the curriculum, such as a discussion if a character in a novel showed one of the traits.

Becca Schwaab, 10, was a pupil helper at the reception, which was held at Wilhelm Ltd. Caterers in Westminster.

"Last year we had coupons," said Becca, who will be a fifth-grader at Mechanicsville Elementary School in Gamber when the academic year begins in September. "If you showed respect or responsibility, you got a coupon. And if your name got pulled, you got to choose something from the school store with the coupon."

`Very helpful'

Her mother, Cathy Schwaab of Finksburg, praised the Character Education Program.

"I think it's very helpful," she said. "It puts all the kids on the same level, no matter what their background."

Ian Bucacink, another pupil helper from Westminster, enjoyed learning how historical figures demonstrated the character traits.

"We would talk about somebody like Eleanor or Franklin Roosevelt and write down some things about their characters," says Ian, 9, who will be a fourth-grader at Friendship Valley Elementary School in Westminster.

"I like history. So I like hearing how famous people with good character lived," he said.

Guthrie said the Character Education Program would continue next school year.

"The community came up with these values so the same ones will be used," she says.

She wanted to emphasize that the program could not work without the character traits first being taught by children's most important educator.

"We don't want to replace parents," Guthrie said.

"We really believe parents are the primary educators. We want to support them," she said.

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