Character Development Program Impacts StudentsMichael Rosin, principal at Concordia Elementary, saw the value in a tradition character education program, but wanted to meet the needs of a Lutheran school. He adapted a character education program to fit the school’s Christian focus.The program highlights seven character traits that include trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, compassion, citizenship and reverence. The students also say a character pledge reminding them of how to respond to bullying and treating others as they would want to be treated.The program gives kids a common language and expectations for behavior because it focuses on what the student should have done, rather than what they shouldn’t have done.
By centering on these seven traits, the program gives teachers and staff a focus for positive behaviors. Mr. Rosin adds, “It’s intentional--we make it a part of what we do. It’s a lifelong process of learning these things.”The character trait of reverence was added to help students build a deep spiritual respect for God through worship, study and a personal relationship. This aspect is lacking in most character education programs because they are designed for use in public schools.Middle school teacher Dan Bultemeyer says the program is a perfect fit for the Lutheran schools educational philosophy. “All Lutheran schools are designed for character education. I think that being Christian, we’re more concerned about the entire child.”Having had experience as both a principal and a teacher, he sees how this program affects students and teachers alike.“It’s a constant reminder that as Christians we fall short of displaying those character traits,” Mr. Bultemeyer explains. “It affords us the opportunity for God’s grace. We don’t fulfill the traits as well as we’d like. But forgiveness is there for each other.”As a teacher, he feels like he’s able to invest in the students in a different way and get to know them personally. “One of the joys of teaching is the personal relationship with the kids. As a teacher, I get to know them deeper. You can sense their ups and downs. We’re able to discuss our faith. We see the kids on Sunday at church. We get to know the total person.”By using the combination of relationships and character education, they are able to target the entire child. Mr. Rosin says that families who visit the school like the intentionality of the character education program.He adds, “This helps us build on the scriptural foundation that’s laid out for us. We hope these things have a lasting impact.”