Goals of Character Education at Halifax Middle School
Almost 20 years ago the Halifax Middle School community recognized that we had a school culture in which students were more often choosing to do "what was cool" rather than to do "what was right." We had an environment in which most students did not promote the good, but instead promoted whatever they could "get away with" when an adult was not looking. We had an atmosphere in which good students were torn between following their conscience and following the crowd.
Halifax Middle School has a distinct culture and climate as does every school; however, too often these school cultures are created by default rather than by design. This was the case at Halifax Middle School nine years ago, before we set out to purposefully design a school culture that promoted and reinforced what good parents want for their children: we set out to design a culture in which students would know they will be supported when they have the courage to act responsibly, to honor the truth, and to follow their conscience to do what is right and good.
At Halifax Middle School we wanted to create a community that would reach each child at a deeper level: we wanted students to realize that they are each worthy individuals who are gifted with their own unique talents and abilities (no matter what their family or home circumstances). We wanted to create a community in which every student realizes that he or she is an important and valued member, and a school community with the mission to help each student discover the special talent that he or she will use to serve our world. We wanted to create a community in which all students realize that they have the power within themselves to choose to do their best, to choose to do what is right, and to choose to use their special talents and abilities to make our school, our community, and our world a better place.
Now that Halifax Middle School is in its 20th year of a character education initiative, it is strikingly apparent that students at Halifax Middle School are more willing to accept responsibility for their actions and more willing to hold their peers accountable. Students are more considerate of others; they take responsibility for the school environment; and they have a positive rapport with their teachers. We are proud of the fact that we have been able to maintain an overall postive, safe, and supportive school climate over these many years through the Discovery process, and we and will continue to hold it as one of our top priorities.