DRAFT 6/18/03

"The Amador Way"

Character Education at

Amador Valley High School

 

 

Introduction

 

In August of 1999, The California Superintendent of Education stated that ÒCharacter education is a critical component of education which needs to be embedded in the school culture and the core curriculum throughout the school yearÉÉ" [1] These thoughts are incorporated in the California Education Code in Section 44806 which states that:

 

"Each teacher shall endeavor to impress upon the minds of the pupils the principles of morality, truth, justice, patriotism, and a true comprehension of the rights, duties, and dignity of American citizenship, and the meaning of equality and human dignity, including the promotion of harmonious relations, kindness toward domestic pets and the humane treatment of living creatures, to teach them to avoid idleness, profanity, and falsehood, and to instruct them in manners and morals and the principles of a free government."[2]

 

In response to this directive, the pleasanton Unified School District in conjuction with the City of Pleasanton, the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce, the Pleasanton Faith Community, the Pleasanton Youth Master Plan, and the residents of Pleasanton have united to develop a "community of character." 

 

The goal of the program is to create, and maintain, an environment in Pleasanton in which people are respectful, accepting of diversity, and act with civic, social, and personal responsibility.  Pleasanton USD has asked all of its schools to develop character education programs that are appropriate to each site.  In order to do this, PUSD has referenced the materials of The Character Education Partnership (CEP), "a nonpartisan coalition of organizations and individuals dedicated to developing moral character and civic virtue in our nation's youth as one means of creating a more compassionate and responsible society."[3]

 

 


PUSD Stategy 6

 

 

 

PUSD Expected Behaviors

The work of the CEP correlates very closely to the Pleasanton USD Strategic Plan.  Strategy 6 states that PUSD "will develop curriculum, create an atmosphere, and model behavior which instills personal, social, and civic responsibility."[4]

 

In March of 2000, the PUSD Strategy 6 Committee concluded a survey of Pleasanton residents.  The results of the survey were that 6 expected behaviors where identified as focal points for the "Community of Character" program.  The expected behaviors, which have been assigned to specific months district wide, are:

 

August-October
November/December
January
February
March/April
May/July

Responsibility
Compassion
Self Discipline
Honesty
Respect
Integrity

 


AVHS

2002-03 Committee

As part of Strategy 6, each school site was to convene a committee, evaluate character education at their site, and prepare a plan of action for the 2003-04 school year.  The Amador Valley High School Character Education Committee was established in November of 2002.  The committee volunteers represent a broad grouping of people from the school community. 

 

AVHS Committee Evaluation Guidelines

The AVHS Character Education Committee used the CEP Eleven Principles of Effective Character Education to evaluate the current character education program at AVHS.  The Principles are:

 

1. Character education promotes core ethical values as the basis of good character.

2. "Character" must be comprehensively defined to include thinking, feeling, and behavior.

3. Effective character education requires an intentional, proactive, and comprehensive 

    approach that promotes the core values in all phases of school life.

4. The school must be a caring community.

5. To develop character, students need opportunities for moral action.

6. Effective character education includes a meaningful and challenging academic curriculum

    that respects all learners and helps them succeed.

7. Character education should strive to develop students' intrinsic motivation.

8. The school staff must become a learning and moral community in which all share

    responsibility for character education and attempt to adhere to the core values that guide

    the education of students.

9. Character education requires moral leadership from both staff and students.

10. The school must recruit parents and community members as full partners in the

    character-building effort.

11. Evaluation of character education should assess the character of the school, the school

    staff's functioning as character educators, and the extent to which students manifest good

    character. [5]

 

AVHS Committee

Results

The Character Education Committee's evaluation of AVHS found that the school does educate its students about character through a variety of leadership activities and individual teacher's lesson plans. 

 

 From the evaluation process, the committee developed a character education program for AVHS called "The Amador Way."  "The Amador Way" encompasses both the school's mission statement and the expected school wide learning results.

 

 

The Amador Way

The Amador Way is a community wide philosophy that promotes responsible social and personal behavior, in a diverse environment.  Our common vision is that all stakeholders at Amador Valley High School will demonstrate compassion, honesty, integrity, respect, responsibility, and self-discipline through out each day.  Continuing to build upon Amador's tradition of pride and excellence, "We are working together to make a difference." [6]

 

"The Amador Way" is a character education program that is built upon the need for human connection.  As such, "The Amador Way" seeks to improve relationships and communication through understanding.   The program encompasses every aspect of life at AVHS including parents, students, staff, and the larger community. The program focuses on the PUSD expected behaviors high-lighting one each month through activities, incorporation into the curriculum, our behavior, and daily school life.

 

 

 

 



[1] PUSD Stategy 6, www.pleasanton.k12.ca.us

[2] California Education Code, Section 44806

[3] Character Education Partnership, www.character.org

[4]Character Education Partnership, www.character.org

[5] PUSD Stategy 6, www.pleasanton.k12.ca.us

[6] Amador Valley High School Mission Statement, www.pleasanton.k12.ca.us