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CharacterPlus Friends,

I am so excited to join the wonderful CharacterPlus team at EducationPlus. I am honored to be leading a program staffed by such passionate and caring and knowledgeable people committed to helping our schools create the most positive climate possible. Through their focused work, Missouri and Illinois member schools continue to lead the nation in both State Schools of Character and National Schools of Character. WOO-HOO! Go St. Louis Region!

As we look to the 16-17 school year, I look forward to receiving feedback from our schools regarding “What next...?” for your schools. What can CharacterPlus bring into your schools to help you create the necessary culture of learning for socio-emotional and academic successes? We know that our current CharacterPlus Way program produces results; the data proves it. we also know that with so many culturally advanced schools in our region, we need to develop new and relevant content to continue our growth. Some of this new content will be focused around topics such as Trauma Informed Schools; Restorative Justice; Socio-Emotional Learning; Student Summits; Digital Citizenship; and developing solid, focused leadership strengths through the culture and climate lens. My team and I are currently working towards developing this new content and new programming and can’t wait to unveil it for our schools in the fall!

Meanwhile, we encourage you to continue the great work. If you have new staff, be sure to get them registered for the certification series so they can quickly get on board. Dr. Berkowitz’s week-long intensive Summer Academy in Character Education is also a highly impactful experience for staff members to attend. Don’t forget, if any administrators have not attended the Leadership Academy in Character Education (LACE), this also is a "must do!" Registration begins in October-November for a start date of January 2017. Lastly, don’t forget about the 2016 National Conference. This will be an extra special event, the last conference of this type for a while. We are going to let this version of the Character Education National Conference take a break while we reinvent some newer and fresher formats to bring the best in Character Education to you.

If you need anything from myself or the CharacterPlus team, please know that we are here to serve you and your schools!

Happy Summer 2016!

Julie Sperry
Dr. Julie Sperry
Executive Director of CharacterPlus
Director of Leadership


The CharacterPlus Way


The CharacterPlus Way® program recognized the School Leadership Teams from each of the participating schools during the end of the year celebration held on May 12 at Craig Elementary School. Each team member received certification in Initial Training, Advanced Training or Sustainability. Craig Elementary (Parkway Schools) and Busch Middle School (St. Louis Public Schools) were recognized as 2016 National Schools of Character. Congratulations! The winning schools will be sharing their successful practices as they open their doors for visiting educators and mentor new schools coming into the program.

The program welcomed 13 new schools into the program this year. The CharacterPlus Way is a three year program that involves student leadership, intrinsic motivation and collaborative school-wide and classroom practices. The CharacterPlus Way team is proud to announce that 12 of the 17 National Schools/Districts of Character are currently enrolled or have previously completed the three-year certification in the program. The program is recognized on the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) and the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL).

The CharacterPlus Way is an evidenced-based, comprehensive, school-wide process. Developed through research, this data driven- process is led by district/school leadership teams. The team, comprised of the principal, teachers, parents, and sometimes students, is trained to deliver tools and strategies that transform the climate and culture of a school or district. Results include significant increases in student academic achievement and dramatic reduction in acts of violence and misbehavior such as bullying. Among staff and administration there is a focus on collaboration and a team approach to changing the culture of the school.

If you are interested in learning more about The CharacterPlus Way program
Contact Tami Bopp, Director of The CharacterPlus Way at 314.692.1207 or email

CharacterPlus Conference 2016

CNC 16 LogoThere is no better way to get ready for the new school year than attending the CharacterPlus National Conference on July 27- 28!

Character Education is at the core of student academic achievement, building a positive school climate and developing caring and productive citizens. The expertise of our presenters will provide you one of the most thought provoking, culture changing experiences of your professional career. This conference meets the needs of preK-12th grade educators, administrators, superintendents, school board members and community partners. You will walk away inspired, informed and energized with practical ideas, strategies and solutions to start the school year off right!

For more information and to register, click here: 

CharacterPlus National Conference

The Gatesworth Project
Gatesworth Residents with Dr. Jason Adams 
Residents of The Gatesworth with Dr. Jason Adams, right

The residents at The Gatesworth, a senior retirement community, have adopted Maplewood-Richmond Heights Elementary School. Gatesworth residents Priss McDonnell and Donna Haerr spearheaded a campaign to raise funds that will enable MRHE to receive the CharacterPlus Way program for the next three years. Both Priss and Donna are continually creating new ways for the residents to stay involved in this special mentoring program.

     Buddy System              Blooming Bloomers              Bookmarkers 
Buddy System                                Blooming Bloomers                       BookMarkers

Currently the students have three different volunteer opportunities including the Buddy System (working with students), Blooming Bloomers (working in the garden), and Bookmakers (working in the library). A special thank you to Donna Haerr from The Gatesworth and MRHE Principal Dr. Jason Adams for your work and dedication in making this project successful!

2016 National Schools of Character

NSOC LogoOur region leads the nation in schools and staff committed to creating caring climates and cultures of success. Because we want to continue to inspire educators to champion our character cause, CharacterPlus continues to bring to you the top speakers and resources necessary to keep your school climate thriving. Join us for the 2016 National Character Education Conference on July 27 & 28 to learn best practices and how to become a National School of Character!

Announcing the 2016 National Schools of Character

Becoming either a State School of Character and/or a National School of Character takes focused work around the things that really make a difference. It is not an easy journey, but one that is definitely worth it. It takes the staff, students and community to all be on board! With the culture elevating work of the CharacterPlus Way, the results can be amazing. Behavior will improve as student voice and belonging grow; academic data will climb as students want to engage in the work; all stakeholders will feel more connected and more satisfied as their sense of community grows. To achieve these high honors, schools must have the data to show that all of this is happening!

It is with great pride that we announce that the National Organization,, has recognized 68 schools and 4 school districts as 2016 National Schools of Character. Missouri again leads the nation with 17 of these National Schools of Character. These schools and one from Illinois are all CharacterPlus members and account for 25% of all National Schools of Character in 2016. CharacterPlus coordinates the State Schools of Character program for Missouri and helps them complete the rigorous application process to become recognized as a National School of Character.

Congratulations to all of our outstanding schools and districts:

• Bayless School District - Bayless District and Bayless Elementary
• Belleville #118 School District IL. - Abraham Lincoln Elementary
• Fox School District - Don Earl Early Childhood Learning Center
• Lindbergh Schools - Sappington Elementary
• Mehlville School District - John Cary Early Childhood Center
• Parkway Schools - Barretts Elementary and Craig Elementary
• Rockwood School District - Bowles Elementary, Geggie Elementary, Uthoff Valley Elementary, Woerther Elementary and Rockwood District
• Saint Louis Public Schools - Busch Middle School of Character, Nottingham Community Access and Job Training High School and Woerner Elementary
• Lincoln County R3 School District - Lincoln Elementary
• Valley Park District - Valley Park Middle School

The State Schools of Character program in Missouri is generously supported by the NFL Rams. Thanks to a State Farm Good Neighbor grant, the principals from Busch Middle, Nottingham CAJT and Woerner Elementary have been part of a Saint Louis Public Schools CharacterPlus principal cohort to help train and implement character education in their schools.
2016 Champions for Character Schools


Cardinals Care, in cooperation with CharacterPlus, sponsors Champions for Character. The award program honors three schools in the metro area that have a school-wide ethos of service learning. The school's service learning must be infused in the curriculum and school life and be able to show it has an impact beyond their school and into the surrounding community.

Congratulations go out to:

• Henry Raab Elementary School - Belleville 118
• Selvidge Middle School - Rockwood
• Gateway2change - 32 area high school student leadership groups

These schools were recognized by the Cardinals at a recent game where they got to go onto the field and enjoyed an evening out at the ballpark.


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