Lawrence Township Public Schools was recognized earlier this month by Character.org, which named LTPS a 2020 National District of Character for the district’s use of character development to drive change.
Character.org is a national advocate and leader in character development in schools and communities. Its NDOC program recognizes the district’s positive impact on academics, student behavior and climate through its demonstrated use of character development.
“We are pleased to announce and celebrate the schools and school districts who have earned this national recognition,” president of Character.org Dr. Arthur Schwartz said in a press release.
LTPS will carry the distinction for five years and is one of seven districts in the nation certified as a National District of Character in 2020. This is the second time the district has earned the five-year distinction. The first time was in 2014, according to LTPS.
Before earning a NDOC designation, a school or district has to be noted as a State District of Character in their respective state. LTPS was named a 2014 and 2020 New Jersey District of Character.
The LTPS application automatically was forwarded to Character.org for national consideration. Amy Amiet, Eldridge Park Elementary School principal, and Alyson Fischer, Lawrence Intermediate School principal, led the district’s Character Education Committee in the extensive re-application process.
Various schools in Lawrence Township’s seven-school district have worked with Character.org, previously known as the Character Education Partnership, for at least thirteen years. Currently Eldridge Park is a National School of Character.
“Character education is woven throughout our district,” Amiet said, according to LTPS. “It is not simply an initiative that is touched on occasionally or something done to receive an award. One sees character education in the classroom, the lunchroom, the hallway, the nurse’s office, and the custodial office. It thrives on the stage, on the soccer field and at the bus stop. It is evident during PTO and Board of Education meetings and is reflected in school and district communications and interactions with stakeholders. We are thrilled to receive this recognition for our staff and students’ dedication to living and modeling our values and to being mindful to do the right thing.”
Since its inception, the National Schools of Character program has impacted nearly 3 million students, staff, parents and community members. The schools and school districts who apply must meet the rigorous standards articulated in Character.org’s 11 Principles Framework for Schools. Each school or district is evaluated by a team of trained educators and includes a site visit to assess how a school’s “shared values” are motivating students to do the right thing.
Character.org will honor LTPS at its next National Forum. Dates for the forum will be forthcoming. They are not set yet due to the COVID-19 pandemic.