Focus on One Core ethical Value per Year
I vividly remember the first year as a school principal in Irvine Ca that I was looking for a school-wide monthly theme for our school that the staff and the PTA could embrace and would commit to each month. What the staff and I discovered was that a monthly theme was too labor intensive for everyone to keep up with and even more difficult for kids to learn as well retain. While I typically would chose a value theme like respect responsibility, integrity, or compassion I began to see that some values were meant for personal improvement and some had more of a focus on others. Secondly and more important we found that monthly themes were not enough time to really develop lessons and activities around the themes we had chosen.
I decided if the school had one annual theme with four components for each quarter of the year it could turn into a comprehensive Character Education program and be more sustainable in impacting student lives. example Since the school year was divided into quarters we could include four major components for every theme chosen for the year. For Example Respect could be divided into these four major areas for the year : 1st Quarter: Respect for Yourself 2nd Quarter: Respect for Others 3rd Quarter: Respect for Country 4th Quarter: Respect for the Environment We could literally spend 5 years in studying any one of the values chosen for the annual themes. We even found out with all 7 of the core ethical value (themes below and Now in the comprehensive Character Development Program Values in Action!) that we needed a graphic gestalt that would bring all the values together so that even though we start with a different theme each year the values previously learned could still be remembered and referenced over the seven years. Gene Bedley