International Educator Describes UCDSB as "World-Class School District" During Character Always! Review

    BROCKVILLE, ON, June 11 /CNW Telbec/ - An audit of the Upper Canada
District School Board's Character Always! initiative has concluded the Board
is a model for the province in ensuring character development permeates the
culture of its schools.
    The report, by distinguished educator Dr. Avis Glaze, was commissioned by
trustees to measure the success of the "Character Always!" initiative and its
impact on students, staff and the community.
    The study, conducted in the spring of 2009, involved surveys and
focus-group sessions encompassing a wide cross-section of groups from schools
and board offices. Parents, community members and municipal leaders were also
asked for their input.
    "This Board has a lot to be proud of," said Glaze of the Character
Always! initiative. "It is a world-class organization when it comes to the
implementation of character development and other educational innovations.
    "This Board not only takes character development seriously but it takes
it to a whole new level."
    Glaze was impressed by the Board's organized implementation of character
development through its CREW Strategic Plan, as well as the level of student
engagement in providing students with a 'window into the world' and in
encouraging them to think globally and act locally. Students are learning to
demonstrate their caring for others both at home and in far-away places.
    Character Always! was officially introduced in 2004 as a way for the
Board to strive for ethical as well as academic and professional excellence
among its students and staff. It is designed to improve school and office
culture through promoting the attributes of resilience, respect, empathy,
caring, honesty, fairness, perseverance and responsibility, within all aspects
of the Board's programming and operations.
    The idea was to promote a character-filled culture in UCDSB schools and
administrative offices that would lead to success in all aspects of Board
operations. Research suggests that effective character development programs
help promote several attributes among students including: more appropriate
behaviour; a perception of schools as caring and child-centred; a decline in
misconduct, drug use and violence among students; academic achievement and
improved problem-solving skills.
    Dr. Glaze's study suggests the Board has done an outstanding job in
implementing the program, which has yielded positive results for both students
and staff.

    Among the key findings in Dr. Glaze's report are:

    1) The Board has set a strategic direction that ensures the values
       promoted by the program - such as caring and perseverance - are
       embedded in UCDSB operations and reflect the principles espoused by
       Character Always!. Initiatives such as the CREW Strategic Plan, the
       Living Credo, and strategies such as the Michelangelo Project are
       second to none.

    2) Community outreach and engagement under the program is of the highest

    3) Many schools have taken the initiative seriously and have woven the
       concepts and attributes of Character Always! into their school

    4) Anecdotal evidence provided in staff interviews suggests the program
       has yielded improved behaviour in the schools, and has schools
       preparing their students to be character-filled members of their

    5) Character Always! is a common thread that runs throughout the
       curriculum and the life of the school and Board.

    The full report will be presented to the Board at its next meeting on
June 17.

For further information:

For further information: Dr. Avis Glaze, President, Edu-quest
International Inc., (647) 262-4545; Gina Camerano, System Principal, Program
Services, Upper Canada District School Board, (613) 275-2928 ext 2277

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