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Northview Named 2022 National School of Character
May 18, 2022 - For the third time, Northview High School has been announced a National School of Character by Character.org. National certification is the highest level of distinction bestowed by the organization. Schools that received the designation demonstrate excellence in establishing school culture that exemplifies and brings to life the 11 Principles Framework for Schools.
Students and staff gathered together for a lawn party to celebrate their hard work and the recognition. Lots of dancing, yard games, smiles, and sticky fingers from snow cones were part of the celebration.
“It feels truly spectacular for Northview to be recognized at the national level, once again,” said Northview Principal Brian O’Connor. “Northview was one of the first schools for students with special needs to be recognized at the national level back in 2012. To continue our school on this journey and for us to be a National School of Character is really a great feeling that the staff and students are in alignment with these principles.”
Throughout the year, Northview’s Character Education team met monthly, led by teacher assistant Diane Witte. The team helped develop monthly words that demonstrated character goals (April’s theme was perseverance), along with activities to do in the classroom. Every classroom in Northview has character education built into their daily schedule, but larger projects are also completed throughout the year.
“There’s the backpack program, where students collect the food and have it ready every week for students to take home in backpacks,” said Witte. “Three or four of our rooms got together and made these t-shirts, sold them, and donated all the money to the St. Patrick’s Center.” The school’s First Responders parade is part of their character practices, and the school hopes to bring back a mentoring program for eighth-grade Ackerman students in the next school year (the program was put on hold due to COVID).
Witte, also a 2022 Building Block award winner, is retiring at the end of this school year, after 39 years of service to SSD. Her work with Northview’s Character program has been a large part of its success. “I’m excited to retire, I’ve been here a long time, but I will miss it,” said Witte. “I love character education, and I think it’s important. I’ve seen changes in students, especially in the mentoring program.”
During the application process, Assistant Principal Mark Sharp discussed how Northview brings new staff up to speed on character development practices. “We familiarize new hires with our school mission, values, vision, touchstone, and expectations,” said Sharp. “We tell them about our character journey, what we do with character development, and why it’s important here.”
In the application evaluation provided by Character.org, Northview’s strengths were highlighted as they relate to the 11 principles:
- Creating a caring community (principle 4)
- Staff share the responsibility for the development, implementation, and modeling of ethical character (principle 8)
- Engaging families and communities as partners in the character initiative (principle 10)
For the 2022 school year, 50 schools and 2 school districts across the nation were recognized. “Each of these schools has put in place a comprehensive approach to help students understand, care about, and consistently practice the character strengths that will help them flourish in school, in relationships, in the workplace, and as citizens,” said Dr. Arthur Schwarts, president of Character.org.
Character.org will honor the 2022 National Schools and Districts of Character at its next International Forum, to be held virtually, in October 2022. The complete list of 2022 National Schools and Districts of Character can be found on Character.org’s website.