Kindness builds character and plays an important part in school curricula across Fairfield County where one has gotten national notice for the focus.
Tracey Magnet School has been honored as both a state and national School of Character.
Character.org in May designated 88 schools and 3 districts in 24 states as National Schools of Character as well as 1 school as a China School of Character for 2019. Tracey Magnet School is the only school in Connecticut to receive the designation.
The annual program certifies schools and districts at the state and national level that demonstrate a dedicated focus on character development, which has a positive effect on academic achievement, student behavior, and school climate, said Character.org in its press release announcing the winners.
"We practice spreading kindness is many ways. We do this within the building by developing stronger relationships among the staff and students and encourage peer to peer relationships as well. Each student has both a student buddy and an adult connection. This year our emphasis has been on strategically demonstrating our kindness by reaching out to the community to conduct service-learning projects. Our students are looking for real-world problems and connecting with community partners and agencies to look for solutions or raise public awareness," said Tracey Magnet School Principal Theresa Rangel.
Each grade level participates in this practice, and together with their community partner, shows how spreading kindness should be done with actions and not just words, she continued. "Students must realize that they can make a difference in the world, and we feel there is no better time to nurture that sense of giving."
In October, members of the school's Tracey Character Committee traveled to Washington, D.C., to accept the honor and take part in a Character.org national forum. This included many breakout sessions "designed to magnify our passion for whole-child learning. We are honored to have our work acknowledged," said Rangel.
Rangel added that her group also received training to evaluate new schools that are applying for this recognition so "many more schools in Connecticut (will) join the movement to become schools of character."
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