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TCCS students study character

Photo submitted to Times Observer Pictured (from left) are: TCCS Assistant to the CEO Melissa Mahaney, National Honor Society President Kelsey Nuttall, NHS Member Nakiesha Krouse, UPMC Health Senior Manager for Regional Community Relations and Marketing Operations Jenny Weigold Geertson, Jill Fitzgerald of Calvert-Pearson Insurance Group, and TCCS Office Manager Heather Cass.

It’s not just about reading, writing, and arithmetic.

This year, Tidioute Community Charter School launched a character education program.

“The new program is designed to help students make good choices,” TCCS Office Manager Heather Cass said. “Character education is a teaching method which fosters the development of ethical and responsible individuals by teaching them about the good values that people should have.”

“Young people these days get exposed to literally thousands of negative influences through the media and their peers every day,” Cass said. “Students need to know how to handle these pressures and character education will give them the tools that they need.”

She said students will take the lead in the program — National Honor Society students in grades three through 12 will work with their peers. Those students are hoping to raise funds to provide incentives for those who demonstrate good character traits.

“On Monday, Oct. 28, UPMC Health Plan presented TCCS with a check for $1,000 to sponsor the Character Education Program,” Cass said.

The program teaches “the values of caring about other people, honesty, responsibility, and other important traits that make for an upstanding citizen,” she said. “Each month we will introduce a new topic; fairness, hope, gratitude, integrity, optimism, kindness, self-regulation, curiosity, and zest.”

“Research done on the subject found out that schools that employ character education have fewer incidences of disciplinary referrals, suspensions, and truancy,” Cass said.

A higher attendance rate is another benefit.

The program is also expected to help students make academic strides.

“Character Education can greatly help students with their academic subjects,” Cass said. “Diligence and a sense of responsibility are some of the main core values taught in character education. With these, students will learn how to focus on their studies, and more importantly, they will have the drive that will make them want to do well in their academic subjects.”

The school expects the program to help make classrooms more conducive to learning.

“Building character also helps them to interact properly with their teachers and fellow students, turning their classroom into a better learning environment,” Cass said.

Similarly, the development of positive character helps students in their interactions with people outside of the school environment.

“What children learn from character education will be useful to them as they engage and interact with other people in society,” she said. “For them to become upstanding members of their communities, they need to know the proper way to treat other people, and these are the things that they learn and understand through character education.”

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