A Cherokee County School District elementary school has won an international award for character education and service learning!
Liberty Elementary School on Friday, May 18, 2018 was one of 73 schools around the world — and the only one in Georgia — to be recognized by the nonprofit Character.org as a National School of Character. The school will be honored at the organization’s 25th National Forum on Character in Washington, D.C. in October.
Liberty ES fourth-graders, from left to right, Jacob Duncan, Blake Spivey and Jaxon Pfanstiel, load donations up for Tony Endozo, husband of fourth-grade teacher Michelle Endozo, to bring with him to Puerto Rico while there for business.
Character.org advocates for all people to become “educated, inspired and empowered to be ethical and compassionate citizens.” Its School of Character awards certify schools and school districts that are models of excellence for teaching students to recognize positive ethical and performance character traits and develop them in themselves.
“We talk a lot of rigor and relevance of the education we’re providing to children, but just as important is the culture we cultivate through character education and service learning,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “We’re extremely proud of the students and families, teachers and staff, and volunteers and partners, who together make Liberty Elementary School a place where #BeKind is more than a motto, it’s a way of life.”
Dr. Hightower praised Principal Doug Knott and Assistant Principals Dr. Pam L. Green and Rad Dixon for their leadership in making character education a priority.
The honor for Liberty ES follows its recognition in 2017 as a State School of Character and its wins in 2016 and 2017 for Promising Practices awards from the organization for specific service learning projects. Dr. Green, who has led the school’s character education initiative, previously helped lead Carmel Elementary School to this State and National recognition; Principal Knott and Dr. Green have been invited to present a session at the National Forum on Character.
In addition to its National School of Character honor, Liberty ES also has won a 2018 Promising Practice Award for its fourth-grade service learning project, “Paying it Forward, Puerto Rico,” to help students there impacted by recent hurricanes. This same group of students previously earned Promising Practice Awards for their projects as second-graders (“Have a Heart for Seniors Care Packages”) and third-graders (“Supplies for the Nicholas House – Family Homeless Shelter”).
Children in Puerto Rico celebrate upon receiving donations and hand-written notes from Liberty Elementary School.
“At Character.org, we are extremely proud of this year’s National Schools of Character,” said Doug Karr, Character.org’s President & CEO. “Their dedication to character development is reducing the skills gap by equipping the future workforce with transferable relationship skills needed to meet tomorrow’s challenges. Validating character initiatives is at the core of what we do, because they create fertile conditions for multi-generational character growth in communities of character.”