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Harrison Ave. Elementary School recognized at International Conference for its Character Education Program

November 3, 2014


The Character Education Program at Harrison Avenue Elementary School was recently recognized as a 2014 National School of Character by at its Washington, D.C., conference.

Harrison Avenue Principal Joseph Palmer was in Washington, D.C., at the end of October to attend the conference. There, he presented on the topic integrating Common Core Curriculum with social emotional character development skills and accepted the designation for the school.

The school was named a 2014 New York State School of Character by the Academy for Character Education at The Sage Colleges and the Character Education Partnership, and later qualified for the national designation.

“It was inspiring and energizing to be around so many people from all over the country and world that share the vision of how important character education is in kids’ lives,” said Principal Joseph Palmer. “You can’t just fill the brain with information—you have to give kids the heart and the hands to make a difference.”

The state award recognizes districts demonstrating outstanding school climate and academic performance. Harrison was recognized for its character education program, which aims to instill a sense of school community and ownership over the core values of pride, respect, responsibility, trust and citizenship. Harrison Avenue was one of six to be selected in NYS and was entered into the pool for national recognition based on several of the school’s promising practices in character education.

The National Schools of Character program is not a competition, according to its leaders, but rather an opportunity to receive feedback in the area of character education. identified Harrison Avenue as showing growth and excellence based on the 11 Principles of Effective Character Education. National Schools of Character hold their designation for three years.

To further quantify the core values for students, Mr. Palmer recently wrote and published his first book, illustrated by local artist Beth Pechtel. Hi-5 for Bulldog Pride chronicles a day with Harrison, a rambunctious puppy. Harrison makes some mistakes throughout the school day, but by the end of the day he learns how to be a respectful, responsible, trustworthy student and citizen.

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