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National Award Brings Celebrity Treatment for Northview

Entertainers, politicians and athletes are accustomed to adoring fans and cheering crowds. But when a group of Northview High School teachers and staff showed up in Washington, D.C,. to attend the National Forum on Character Education, they were surprised by the reception they received.

“It was amazing,” said Northview Principal Stephanie Valleroy. “Everyone there knew us. They knew all about us when we walked in. We were treated like celebrities.”

The reason for the rock star treatment was because Northview was named a National School of Character earlier this year. More prestigious than an Emmy or an Oscar, just 24 schools in the country earned such an honor. And the forum in Washington, D.C., could be compared to the Super Bowl for character educators.

Along with receiving their official award and banner there, the forum gave Northview staff the chance to meet with other award-winning schools from across the country.

“We brought back lots of ideas from talking to people from other schools there,” said Northview teacher Cris Bushway. “Things like making sure we’re giving students more voice in their school.”

At Northview, having a voice is much more than speaking. Throughout the school, whether students speak, use a communication device, picture symbols, sign language or communicate in another way, everyone is a part of the Northview family.

“Everyone has a voice and a choice,” said Northview student Alexis Thomas.

Northview will hold the title of National School of Character for five years. However, the staff and students have no plans of resting on their laurels now that they’ve reached the highest award.

“The amazing thing is that this is just the beginning,” said Northview teacher Cindy Janoski. “Our character education initiative will continue to grow and evolve just as it has done every year. New staff and students will come on board and bring new life and new ideas to the table.”

“It’s exciting to go to a school of character,” said student Monte Moore. “I get to help people when they need help and it makes people good students.”

“The student success has started to grow within the community,” Janoski said. “Part of our plan for the future is to involve our parents and community partners as active participants in this process.”

With the national accolades the school has earned, those at Northview now look to keep the highest standards within the community and beyond as they spread the importance of character education.

“I like to represent Northview,” said student Brianne Thomas. “I try to keep a good and positive attitude. I learn more about character traits so I can do something more with my life.”

When asked how she shows good character while at school, Terianne Adams repeated her classroom mission message: “The sky is the limit to achieving our personal best.”

Northview staff holding banner

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Special School District of St. Louis County (SSD) is a leader in providing special education services to students with disabilities and also provides a wide range of career and technical education programs.
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