CHES Recognized at MCCE Awards Luncheon

By: Ashley Winterstein

Each year, the Maryland Center for Character Education (MCCE) holds an Awards Luncheon to recognize the schools in Maryland that have excelled in character education.

A school from each county is acknowledged for their efforts and Church Hill Elementary School was chosen from Queen Anne’s County to receive the 2012 School of the Year Award.

The mission of the faculty and staff at Church Hill Elementary School is to challenge all students to achieve their maximum potential academically in a nurturing, challenging, and safe learning environment and to be lifelong learners.

To help achieve this goal, Character Counts! has been placed as the cornerstone of their character education program. There are currently 12 volunteer character coaches who visit Church Hill Elementary School on a weekly basis to share lessons about good character with the students. The positive impact these coaches have on the students is often long-lasting and memorable.

Guidance Counselor, Linda Slaughter, explains, “Our character education program involves more than having these volunteers come in– it is integrated in all that we do in our school and we are very proud to have received recognition as a School of the Year by the MCCE.”

The Six Pillars of Character (Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship) are incorporated into Character Counts! Coaching lessons, Guidance lessons, and Project Wisdom. The Pillars are also aligned with the Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) initiatives that focus on the three goals to “Be Respectful, Be Responsible, and Be Safe”.

The results speak for themselves as discipline referrals at Church Hill Elementary School have gone from 20 annually to 3 in a population of over 300 students.

Parents and guardians are also encouraged to participate in school activities, including “Moving with Moms”, “Donuts with Dads”, and Watch DOGS (Dads of Great Students). Church Hill Elementary School received over 2,500 hours of volunteer service in the 2011-2012 school year from parent involvement and Character Counts! coaches.

Principal Lloyd Taylor remarked, “We are certainly pleased that Church Hill Elementary School has been recognized as a school that stresses the importance of good character. Academic achievement is, of course, very important but equally essential is the character development of our students. Good citizens display good character.”

The Character Counts! Advisory Council would like to thank the volunteers who have left a positive mark on the youth in our county and congratulate Church Hill Elementary School for the recognition they received for their commitment to character education.

For more information about the Character Counts! program in Queen Anne’s County, please contact Jacki Carter at 410-758-6677 or Queen Anne’s County Character Counts! is a part of QAC Community Partnerships for Children and Families, our local management board.