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Bell Oaks Has Been Designated 2018 National School of Character by Character.org

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Character.org, the nonprofit organization that validates character initiatives in schools and communities around the world, recently announced in a media release that it designated 73 schools and five districts from 17 states as 2018 National Schools and Districts of Character.

Bell Oaks Middle School is proud to be named one of the 2018 National Schools of Character.

Principal Anthony Farinelli and Vice Principal Melissa Gleason have worked tirelessly since 2008 to infuse the six pillars into the exploratory period, to relate them to literature and life in all subject areas and to stress their practice through classroom and service activities.

Bell Oaks incorporates the elements of responsive classroom and PBIS; they honor students through a “Caught Doing Good” recognition program and they develop thoughtful and reflective learners though a “One Book, One School” initiative.

Among other successful practices are its mentoring and peer mediation programs, a whole community literacy program and a Hope and Dreams motivating exercise taken by staff, parents and the Board of Education.

Bell Oaks School of Character

(Image provided)


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Bell Oaks incorporates the elements of responsive classroom and PBIS; they honor students through a “Caught Doing Good” recognition program and they develop thoughtful and reflective learners though a “One Book, One School” initiative.

Among other successful practices are its mentoring and peer mediation programs, a whole community literacy program and a Hope and Dreams motivating exercise taken by staff, parents and the Board of Education. Since the inception of Character.org’s Schools of Character program in 1998, 547 schools and 35 districts have been designated as National Schools or Districts of Character, impacting more than three million people’s lives.

All designees were announced on May 18 at the conference of the New Jersey Alliance for Social, Emotional, and Character Development conference at Rider University. The event was live-streamed across the nation.

Bell Oaks School of Character

Image Provided

Each year, Character.org and its state affiliates certify schools and districts that demonstrate a dedicated focus on character development with a positive impact on academic achievement, student behavior, school climate and their communities. Character.org evaluates schools and districts selected in January as State Schools of Character (along with those schools who reapplied within their 3-year designation) Character.org for consideration for national certification as National Schools of Character.

Through an in-depth and rigorous evaluation process, these schools were found to be exemplary models in character development. Of the schools named today, 17 schools are former National Schools of Character that have re-applied for the national designation. Criteria for selection are based on Character.org’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education, a framework to assist schools in providing students with opportunities for moral action, fostering shared leadership and engaging families and communities as partners in the character-building effort.

“At Character.org, we are extremely proud of this year’s National Schools of Character as well as our district recipients. Their dedication to character development is reducing the skills gap by equipping the future workforce with transferable relationship skills needed to meet tomorrow’s challenges,” said Doug Karr, Character.org’s President & CEO. “Validating character initiatives is at the core of what we do, because they create fertile conditions for multi-generational character growth in communities of character. This year as we celebrate our Silver Anniversary, we are excited to also recognize 20 years of incredible National Schools of Character.”

Character.org will honor the designated schools and districts at its 25th National Forum on Character to be held October 4-7, 2018, in Washington, D.C. Visit www.character.org to learn more about the National Forum, the Schools of Character Certification (State & National) and the 2018 national honorees.

2018 National Schools of Character

New Jersey

Alexander Denbo Elementary School
Browns Mills, New Jersey
Public 3-5

Apshawa Elementary School
West Milford, New Jersey
Public K-6

Bell Oaks Upper Elementary School
Bellmawr, New Jersey
Public 5-8

Bret Harte Elementary
Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Public K-5

Fort Dix Elementary
Fort Dix, New Jersey
Public PreK- 5

Frank J. Smith
East Hanover, New Jersey
Public Pre-K-2

Hilltop School
Mendham, New Jersey
Public Pre-K-4

Howard L. Emmons Elementary
Pemberton, New Jersey
Public K-2

Joseph D. Sharp Elementary School
Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Public K-5

Joseph S. Stackhouse Elementary School
Browns Mills, New Jersey
Public 3-5

Madison Park Elementary
Parlin, New Jersey
Public K-5

Moss School
Metuchen, New Jersey
Public Pre-K-K

Pemberton Early Childhood Education Center
Pemberton, New Jersey
Public Pre-K

Robert R. Lazar Middle School
Montville, New Jersey
Public 6-8

Samuel T. Busansky Upper Elementary School
Pemberton, New Jersey
Public 3-5

Terence C. Reilly
Elizabeth, New Jersey
Public Pre-K and 2-8

Unity Charter School
Morristown, New Jersey
Charter K-8

West End Elementary School
North Plainfield, New Jersey

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