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On March 8th, we received great news in an email from Dr. Russ Sojourner, National Director of Schools of Character, Character Education Partnership. The email began with the following words:

CONGRATULATIONS! Your school has been named a 2014 National Schools of Character Finalist!”

The Character Education Partnership (CEP), a national advocate and leader for the character education movement, has named 50 schools and districts as national finalists in the 2014 National Schools of Character (NSOC) program. The NSOC program recognizes schools and districts that have demonstrated, through a rigorous evaluation process, that character development has had a positive impact on academics, student behavior, and school climate. CEP has provided this program to K-12 schools and districts in the U.S. since 1998.

The National Schools of Character program is not a competition—but rather an opportunity to receive feedback as well as recognition for growth and excellence in the area of character development through CEP’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education framework. National Schools of Character hold their designations for five years. CEP showcases the NSOC in an annual publication and on its website. The honored schools earn the right to use the NSOC name and logo.

In April, the 50 finalists will undergo an intensive screening process that includes site visits, conference calls, and analysis of the impact of their character-related efforts on academics, student behavior, and school culture as part of the consideration to be named a National School of Character.

The 2014 National Schools of Character will be announced in mid May. CEP will honor these schools and districts at the 20th National Forum on Character Education, to be held October 30, 2014 in Washington, DC. Visit to learn more about the National Forum, the NSOC program and the 2014 national finalists.

We are now working on providing the required information for the rigorous evaluation process in April. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, March 19, a group of Eastern Christian representatives will attend the recognition ceremony for being named a New Jersey District of Character.