Character Development at Peak to Peak Charter School

  • At Peak to Peak, respect, responsibility, and other universally valued character traits are embedded in the curriculum and school culture and modeled by community members with the goal of equipping students for long-term success in life. Students learn to exercise their intelligence with integrity and consider how their decisions and actions affect both themselves and others. The faculty and administrators encourage students to exercise character in practical ways through leadership and participation in service opportunities at school and within our community. Peak to Peak high school students must complete a minimum of 100 hours of community service in order to earn a diploma.
    In 2009 and 2010 Peak to Peak was recognized for our commitment to character development when the school was awarded the Colorado State School of Character title. The Foundation for Character Development chose one school in the state to receive this honor and awarded Peak to Peak the title at the State Capitol on June 15, 2009. Commissioner of Education, Dwight D. Jones presented the award and said, "Character Education is an important part of educating the whole child and Peak to Peak is leading by example in accepting the State School of Character Award for 2009."

    The State Schools of Character awards program provides recognition to schools and districts in Colorado that demonstrate an outstanding character education initiative that has yielded improvements in student behavior, school culture, and academic achievement.

    Jim Olmstead, Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Foundation for Character Development said, "When I visit Peak to Peak, I walk away feeling good about the future of our young people because I know they're coming to a safe, caring, and positive environment in which learning best thrives. All children deserve to attend a school like Peak to Peak."

    Through a highly competitive application process, Peak to Peak was also selected as one of 25 national finalists in the Character Education Partnership (CEP) National Schools of Character (NCOS) awards program. Peak to Peak was honored along with the other 25 finalists at an awards luncheon on October 30, 2009 in Alexandria, VA.

    In 2010, Peak to Peak was again recognized for its commitment to educating for character, earning a "Profile in Character Award" from the Character Education Partnership (CEP) National Schools of Character Awards Program.  The award is given to exemplary schools which have uniquely demonstrated one or more of CEP's Eleven Principles of Effective Character Education.  Only 18 schools in the nation received this award.

    Why has Peak to Peak chosen to educate students on character?
     
    Peak to Peak’s focus on solid academics cannot be complete without an emphasis on the character development of our students.  The Peak to Peak honor code states: “I will strive to achieve excellence in scholarship and character.”  For success in life, our students require not only sound knowledge; they also need to understand and act on traits like integrity, perseverance, responsibility, and honesty. Character Education enhances our students' ability to succeed in everything from relationships to careers.
     

    What is Character Development?

    Character Development is the intentional presentation and integration of universal core traits or life skills that we hold in common such as: respect, responsibility, kindness, perseverance, and integrity, to name a few. These traits transcend our differences in race, socioeconomic status, and religion. Good character consists of cognitively understanding (the head), emotionally caring about (the heart), and acting upon (the hands) these core ethical values. 

    How is Character integrated into the culture of Peak to Peak? 

    Character Development K-12:
    --All school community building events,
    --Modeling of good character,
    --Behavior/Discipline Codes,
    --Service to others,
    --Common language/Existing curriculum,
    --Conflict Resolution,
    --Emphasis on building a caring K-12 community, and
    --Bullying prevention classroom lessons
    Elementary K-5:
    --Character assemblies,
    --School-wide character building activities,
    --School-to-home character connections,
    --Service learning/community service,
    --UNICEF/Character celebration,
    --Character journals,
    --Classroom peace places,
    --Curriculum integration, and
    --Peer mediators
    Middle School 6-8:
    --Access groups,
    --Curriculum integration, life skill lessons,
    --Character and academic awards,
    --Service to community and school,
    --National Junior Honor Society,
    --Character Reflections, Citizenship Projects, Vision of Giving Art,
    --WEB-MS orientation/mentoring,
    --Program and activities,
    --Class trips/team building, and
    --Mix-it-up lunches
    High School 9-12:
    --Access groups,
    --Curriculum integration, life skill lessons,
    --Character and academic awards,
    --Service to community and school,
    --Peer tutoring, educating, and mentoring,
    --Restorative Justice,
    --National Honor Society,
    --College planning/leadership,
    --LINK-HS orientation/mentoring,
    --Mix-it-up lunches, and
    --Class trips/team building


    Character Education principles and core traits are intentionally incorporated by:

    • Modeling of good character and using Character Education Vocabulary;
    • Naturally occurring opportunities in the curriculum to discuss character through class discussions, writing assignments, projects, and activities;
    • Behavior and discipline codes that support the Character being developed; and
    • Opportunities to practice good Character through school and community service.


    BULLYING: It is a behavior that we can change.

    **Pushing, gossiping, excluding, tripping, isolating, intimidating, threatening looks, inappropriate touching, spreading rumors, name-calling….  all CAN be forms of bullying.

    **Many bullying situations begin with people who used to be friends!  One of the best interventions is to talk to your kids about their friends and listen for any changes in relationships or pay attention to friendship dynamics that seem manipulative, controlling, disrespectful, and so on.

    The Three Main Types of Bullying Behavior at School

    Verbal Bullying:  A common form of bullying among both girls and boys.  It can be name-calling, taunting, racial slurs, sexuality slurs, cognitive functioning slurs, inappropriate sexual comments, or any hurtful words said to an individual.

    Physical Bullying:  More common among boys than girls, but girls also practice this form of bullying.  It can be tripping someone in the halls, pushing a child into the lockers, hitting, pinching, destroying one's property, or any other form of harmful physical aggression.

    Relational Bullying:  More common among girls, and can be difficult to see from the outside observer.  It is when individuals isolate, ignore, shun, or exclude another individual in order to make him/her feel left out, alone, and insecure.  For example, when a group of girls stops talking to one girl, or stops sitting with her at lunch, or spreads rumors that she is gross and warns others to stay away from her. (Coloroso, 2003)

    WHAT TO DO 
     
    IF YOU ARE A VICTIM OF BULLYING, WITNESS BULLYING BEHAVIOR, OR YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS BEING BULLIED AT PEAK TO PEAK:
    1. REPORT THE INCIDENT TO AN ADULT WHO CAN HELP!  You can fill out an incident report (online or in the main office, counseling office, or principal's office) or you can email, phone, or report in person.  REPORTS WITHOUT ANY IDENTIFYING INFORMATION ARE VERY DIFFICULT TO AFFECT ANY CHANGE.
    2. Give completed reports to the Main Office or the Counseling Office.
    3. The Administration will follow up with all involved parties and a course of action will be ascertained.
     
    Some conflict is okay, some is not.  How do you know?
     
    Normal Conflict Bullying
    Equal Power Imbalance of Power
    Happens Occasionally Repeated Negative Actions
    Not Serious Serious-Threat of Physical, Emotional, or Psychological Harm
    Equal Emotional Reaction Strong Emotional Reaction on the Part of the Victim
    Not Seeking Power or Attention Seeking Power or Control
    Not Trying to Get Something Trying to Gain Material Things or Power
    Remorse-Takes Responsibility Little or No Remorse and Often Blames the Victim
    Makes Effort to Solve the Problem Little or No Effort to Solve the Problem