Character Counts for Portland Schools

Written by Patricia Hawke for

As Connecticut’s students attending Portland schools go through school-life, there are lots of lessons that must be learned. They must learn to add and subtract, multiply and divide. They must learn letter recognition and the sounds of the letters and blended letters. Mapping skills, chemistry, biology, geography, and civics and economics are all part of the subjects taught and (hopefully!) learned and retained by Connecticut students enrolled in Portland schools.
Schools have been including another type of curriculum in the past several years, called “Character Counts”; a lesson-based approach to help kids learn about being well-rounded human beings. Students attending Portland schools receive these lessons all throughout the year, with each month focusing on a different character trait.
Even in elementary Portland public schools, it is important for children to learn about and demonstrate an understanding of the importance of trustworthiness. Teachers rely on children to be honest; they cannot be making stories up about something that didn’t happen. They must be open about something they may have witnessed concerning a conflict between other Portland schools’ students, or even with themselves and others.
Portland schools teach lessons about fairness. Students learn about the importance of treating everyone fairly; if one student gets homework, everyone gets homework. If one student in Portland schools must follow the “no running in the halls” or “no gum in school” rules, everyone must follow them. Students may also learn that fairness does not always mean equality; it could be considered to be unfair to hand out hair bows to every student in the classes of Portland schools, regardless of gender. The guys would certainly not wish to receive those!
Respect is another important component of the “Character Counts” curriculum. Kids learn the importance of respecting everyone, so they receive respect in their own turn. For the youngest student, this means giving each other their personal space, not damaging or destroying each other’s work or belongings. Older students learn about acting with respect; not mouthing off or being sassy, especially to grown-ups.
Portland schools teach students about caring for each other. This would include helping another student who may have dropped his books in the hallway. Finding a classmate crying in the bathroom and lending an ear or even a hug is another way to show someone else that you care. Caring actually goes hand in hand with respect; it is something that needs to be taught.
Responsibility is also taught in Portland schools. Teachers want their students to learn responsibility by being on time for class, completing assignments when requested, and studying for tests. Responsibility for one’s own actions is also looked for. If a student breaks the rules of the Portland schools, he or she is expected to take responsibility for it and to face the consequences.
For kids attending Portland schools, this means following the rules and participating in school functions and activities. It encapsulates the other 5 “Character Counts” traits, and those who have “good citizenship” show that they have learned all about having good character.