ANY SCHOOL. EVERY CHILD. ALL DAY LONG
New Hebron Attendance Center recently held their kick-off rally for Community of Caring. This is a k-12 comprehensive character education program founded by the late Eunice Shriver Kennedy emphasizing that the ability to reflect upon and act upon values is essential in shaping lives, illuminating goals, and guiding responsible decisions. Today, this program has been adopted by almost 1000 schools nationwide and in Canada.
Community of Caring was created around the five core values of Caring, Respect, Responsibility, Trust, and Family that empower individuals to be responsible and caring members of a community.
Some reasons why schools adopt Community of Caring are:
1. Improves academic performance and school attendance
2. Improves school climate and creates a caring school community
3. Fosters acceptance of diversity and includes those with
4. Creates safer school environments by preventing violence and
5. Prevents teen pregnancy with a youth development focus
6. Reduces tobacco, drug, and alcohol use
7. Helps implement school reform
NHAC is planning to emphasize a different value each month. Their first value, responsibility, was introduced at this kick-off rally by the NHAC cheerleaders who created a cheer to emphasize the merit of the character responsibility. This program was also introduced to the public at the NHAC Booster Club’s Community-Wide Pep Rally held on September 14, 2009.
Students are exemplifying this value by taking responsibility for making announcements each morning. By allowing older students to choose younger students to assist, students are taking on the responsibility of mentoring students in the lower grades. Teachers are already integrating the 5 core values into their regular classroom lessons and activities and into the life of the classroom as a whole. Plans are being made to implement other programs.
Since parents are children’s most important moral educators, in Community of Caring schools, families and schools work together in meaningful ways to build relationships and collaborate on activities based on the 5 values. Trust and respect are developed as schools and families work together. This also fosters cooperation between schools and parents for the good of the student. With this partnership parents learn that schools are working for the benefit of their children.
As Eunice Shriver stated, “We know that every day, every minute matters in the life of a child. Every child is of value, of human value, of transcendent value. Every child must be given the freedom to grow, to love and be loved, to be respected, and to live with dignity.”
For more information about Community of Caring and ways you can help support our school, go to http://www.communityofcaring.org. Community of Caring is being implemented through the Safe Schools-Healthy Students grant.