Four Muskogee Schools’ Promising Practices Certified by Character.Org
MUSKOGEE, Okla. - Four Muskogee Public Schools were certified by Character.org for their Promising Practices that foster character development in children and teens.
Muskogee Early Childhood Center, Tony Goetz Elementary, Whittier Elementary, and Sadler Arts Academy were among the 246 certified Promising Practices in schools and organizations across the country according to a release from Character.org.
“We are extremely proud to recognize the schools and organizations that have developed and implemented a Promising Practice,” said Dr. Arthur Schwartz, President of Character.org. “Each of these programs and initiatives have demonstrated significant impact and strongly align with the principles that help schools and organizations cultivate a culture of character.”
Muskogee Early Childhood Center engages students through play-based educational experiences while valuing children, honoring their intense curiosity, and protecting their innate love for play. Through the use of a Reggio Emilia inspired methodology, ECC values children as communicators, as capable of constructing their own learning, and as collaborators who interact within their community. Those include play-based, hands-on, concrete, real-life, and inquiry-based activities to allow children to construct knowledge as they interact with teachers, other children, and materials. Each year the school hosts “The Best Day Ever” shopping for Christmas gifts for children of less fortunate families, delivering items to local nursing homes, and caroling throughout the community including at the Rougher Alternative Academy to help spread Holiday cheer!
Tony Goetz hosted a Character Summit on October 3, 2019, as teachers, counselors, administrators, volunteers, and Muskogee High School students came together at Eastern Heights Baptist Church to lead fourth and fifth-grade students in family circles, ice breakers, and other activities. Topics covered included “The Muskogee Way; Every Heart, Every Mind, Every Day”, “The Rougher Strut”, and the Tony Goetz Creed. Students brainstormed new ideas for the Tony Goetz Creed that would include the school’s core values. Following the Summit, “The Rougher Strut” was implemented throughout the school with signs, teacher input, reminders and discussions. Teachers have implemented family circles as part of their character development in the classroom. Additionally, one of the core values was focused on throughout the school each month as part of character development.
Whittier Elementary’s ROAD Crew Character Club partnered with staff, students, community members, and area Memory Care facilities to hold the “Whittier Memory Makers Baby Doll drive.” The school has partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association for a number of years in educating students about Alzheimer’s Disease. As part of the Baby Doll drive, character club members study how baby doll and stuffed animal therapy has been shown to benefit some individuals with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The drive collects realistic baby dolls, stuffed animals, and blankets from the school and Muskogee community. The ROAD Crew then delivers those baby dolls and stuffed animals to local nursing homes. Students learn how to interact and respond to residents. Through this project, students learn empathy skills and how to comfortably interact with an older generation.
Sadler Arts Academy’s “The Great Kindness Challenge” is a student-led, school-wide character-building initiative that focuses on showing kindness within both the school and community. Upper and lower grades come together as “book buddies” and read books about kindness throughout the week. Older students also invited younger students to sit with them during lunch instead of sitting by grade level. Students were also challenged to fill a playpen with baby items for Fostering Hope, a local nonprofit organization that assists foster families upon receiving a new foster child. A third-grade student made a “Make Kenya Smile Box” and asked fellow students to write positive notes to the children in Kenya.