Monday, May 23, 2011

"It's not a single thing we do"

In kindergarten through fourth grade, charter school teachers focus explicitly on character by teaching students how to behave at school, interact with each other and give back to their community. In fifth through eighth grade, those skills are reinforced while teaching academics through the bridge activity, rap writing and other projects, O'Malley said. 
Character education culminates during a capstone project students complete as seventh- and eighth-graders. The project involves researching, planning and implementing a service project such as tending gardens for the Franklin Food Pantry, administrators said. 
"We try to focus on the whole student," O'Malley said, noting all students participate in weekly small group sessions that address character issues. "Parents, teachers and students buy into the idea that character education is at the heart of what we do." 
Several students who participated in interviews before the committee said they didn't realize how well character is integrated into their studies until they were asked about it. 
"There's a sense of community here," said Cobi Frongillo, 13, an eighth-grader. "I can name about 95 percent of the students here. I don't think that would happen in another school."

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Franklin, MA

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