Character Attributes in Detail

What is character development?
Character development encourages everyone to work together to create a community of caring citizens. When we build good character, we build strong communities.  It is tied closely to equity, diversity and inclusion, in that it fosters respect for the dignity and humanity of all individuals and groups.  It is a deliberate, day-to-day effort to nurture the universal qualities that are considered important within our local and global communities.  These qualities form the basis of our relationships with one another, and of responsible citizenship. 

All of our schools focus on the following character attributes:

  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Empathy
  • Fairness
  • Initiative
  • Perseverance
  • Courage
  • Optimism

These attributes set the basis for standards of behaviour for everyone in our schools, including students, staff, volunteer and visitors.

But character development is a shared responsibility. Adults serve as a model for children.  They reinforce character attributes in their day-to-day actions and interactions with family and community.   Parents and guardians have primary responsibility for developing character in their children.  The community and school play an important role as well. Together we can help students achieve their goals.

Has research demonstrated that character development can make a difference?
Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board uses several measures to gauge the impact of character development, which works hand-in-hand with equity, diversity and inclusion.  Indicators of success include student achievement, attendance, suspension rates, student engagement in school activities and other data.

Over the past few years, we have seen student achievement and graduation rates increase, and suspension rates decrease.  These changes underscore the importance of our continuing effort to develop character, global citizenship, inclusion and respect for all humans.

Why does the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board support character development?
Canada is one of the best places in the world in which to live.  Our citizens are our best assets.  Our education and continuing development contribute, not only to personal development and life chances, but also to the ability of our nation to fulfil its potential in social and economic terms.  Equally important, education contributes to the development of responsible citizenship.  It makes possible the preservation of a civil society, which we all cherish.  It is the hallmark and the lifeblood of our democracy.

Citizenship development is and has been one of the key purposes of schooling. 

The development of character attributes and the dispositions necessary for future citizens begins in the home and is reinforced in our schools.  Our schools are dynamic places that emphasize high standards and academic excellence. 

By continuously focusing on the positive character attributes, we can build classrooms where students are ready to learn and teachers are free to teach.  Research indicates that character development helps schools to nurture:

  • Respect for self and one another.
  • Responsible local and global citizenship.
  • Improved relationships with one another.
  • Positive school culture.
  • Safe, caring and restorative school environments.
  • Higher academic achievement.
  • Greater self-discipline.
  • Fewer behavioural problems.
  • Workplace skills sought by employers.

What are some of the Board’s specific goals for character education?
At the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, our primary purpose is academic achievement.  We also are committed to personal, social, life skills and citizenship development.

Our mission is to educate our students to excel in learning, to succeed in life and to enrich our communities.  We are committed to nurturing responsible, well-rounded students who reach their full potential.  We focus on providing safe, caring school environments where everyone feels respected, accepted and included.  Character development is an important part of our day-to-day efforts to achieve these goals.

How can character development improve the school environment?
Character development is part of every aspect of school life.  It is not a separate subject.  It is a constant focus of everyday teaching and learning.  In all subject areas, in all grades, teachers seize “teachable moments” to focus students’ attention on positive character attributes.

Character development offers both a proactive framework for the prevention of negative or anti-social behaviours and attitudes, as well as a reactive basis for intervention as problematic behaviour arises, and the administering of consequences should negative behaviour persist.