Ever since the Board of Education set a goal for us to implement a Character Education program district-wide, I have somehow found myself alert to things I never noticed before, specifically how values play a part in places outside of education.
My 88-year-old mother-in-law has been living with us for three years now and is nearing the point where she needs more care than we can give her. With her permission, I began to search for assisted living places in the area for the time when she may need them.
This fall I visited Sunrise, a facility on Haggerty between 5 and 6 Mile. Upon walking in the door to the reception desk, I was faced with a large sign above the desk that said:
OUR CORE VALUES
Joy in Service
A few months ago, while taking my car through a neighborhood car wash (the kind where you stay in the car and a chain pulls you through all the squirting and scrubbing), I came to the end of the line where a machine blows hot air on your car and dries it off. It was then that I noticed a sign on the wall that I had never noticed before. It said:
If you are not satisfied, drive back to the other end and we will wash your car again.
These examples pretty much characterize the challenge our Board of Education has given District administrators. This year, we will identify a set of Core Values that stand for what we are in Plymouth-Canton Community Schools. These will be the values we want to have instilled in our students, and what we try to model to them in our own adult behavior, whether we teach them in our classrooms, drive them in our buses, feed them in our cafeterias, assist them in our offices, or clean their classrooms.
Do not mistake the Board’s goal as implying we are not doing any values education. Our District Character Education Committee has met several times, and one of the things that became very clear is that all of our schools are doing something to instill and reinforce basic values.
The intent of our Board is to unify all the diverse things we are doing in our schools around a common core of values that we believe characterize P-CCS, by making sure these values are embedded in our curriculum, not added to the curriculum. What the common core of values will be, and how they can be embedded, is the challenge to our Character Education Committee.
Several hundred people responded to the Character Education Committee’s survey, which was on the District website this fall, and we have been visiting community groups asking individuals to share the values they think are important for our students to learn. The committee will process all of the data collected and will submit a recommendation to the Board of Education early in 2013. There is still time for you to share your opinion on this important topic if you have not done so already. Please send us your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Character counts here at P-CCS. We want our students to graduate with the academic and social skills they need to be productive members of our community.
Jeremy M Hughes, Ph.D.
Dr. Jeremy Hughes