Educating Tomorrow's Leaders
"Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of a true education."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke these immortal words, and here at Busch Middle School of Character they drive what we are about. Our goal is to provide students with an excellent education that empowers them to positively contribute to our community.
Character education is not a new concept, but it has been receiving more support in recent years as more and more research emerges showing how effective character education can be at transforming school culture and impacting young people.
All staff at Busch Middle School of Character, from the principal, to the teachers, to the custodians, to the cafeteria staff, receive regular training on effective character education practices.
Since adopting a mission that includes character education, we have seen a significant impact on our students. We have higher attendance, higher grades and test scores, fewer incidents of misbehavior, a lower suspension rate, and have almost eliminated fights in our school. Students report feeling safer and more comfortable at school. They report that their teachers care about them.
We attract high-quality teachers to come work for us in large part because of our character education program. Educators that desire to work with our incredible students and with a cohesive staff with a common vision of empowering young lives seek out our school.
Two members of our administration are graduates of the Leadership Academy in Character Education (LACE). They have brought this important training back to our school in ongoing professional development sessions to improve our professional practices. We also study the work of character education experts like Thomas Lickona, Hal Urban, and Marvin Berkowitz. Dr. Berkowitz mentors and consults with our staff to help us in attaining true character education.
Busch Middle School of Character has also been fortunate to work with CharacterPlus, an organization committed to building strong schools and communities. CharacterPlus has generously donated their time to consult on our efforts, and have sent many members of our staff to trainings, workshops, and conferences. They also regularly lead in-house professional development for our faculty and staff.
Through our work with CharacterPlus, we have been encouraged to become part of the national character education movement. We were recognized in 2013 and 2014 by the Character Education Partnership, the national leader in character education, for some of the initiatives at our school as part of their Promising Practices program. We subsequently went on to be named both a State School of Character (2015) and a National School of Character (2016).
Our work is never done, and though we are proud of how far we have come, we continue to strive every single day to build our character education program and impact our students. Every single one of our students, staff, and parents contribute to our caring community.