Mehlville schools earn character awards

Two Mehlville schools have been selected to receive awards for Promising Practices in character education.

Trautwein and Blades elementary schools will receive two of the 154 awards given to schools from across the country.

The Character Education Partnership presents the annual Promising Practices awards for unique and specific exemplary practices that encourage the ethical, social and academic growth of kindergarten through 12-grade students through character education.

Winning practices included creative ways to engage parents and community members, encourage student voice and leadership, and offer students opportunities to serve others.

Trautwein’s winning entry was the Kids’ Kabinet program. Seven fourth- and fifth-grade pupils in the Kids’ Kabinet conducted monthly class meetings with kindergarten, first-, second-, and third-grade pupils. Class meetings focused on helping pupils develop strategies that allow them to demonstrate good character in their lives. The goals of the pupil-led class meetings included being respectful toward others, promoting good behavior choices, being polite and building relationships with peers.

To prepare for the meetings, Kids’ Kabinet members talked with teachers to identify issues that should be addressed.

Pupils then met with their teachers and building administrators to discuss strategies that could help solve the problems. After the Kids’ Kabinet members felt confident with these strategies, they ar-ranged appointments with each class and conducted the meetings. At the conclusion of each meeting, the children wrote about what they learned and how they felt about the issues discussed.

“Teachers appreciate the discussions Kids’ Kabinet has with their students. They know that student-led class meetings are powerful because the character message is presented by other students,” Trautwein Principal Joan Wiese stated in a release.

The Community Team at Blades Elementary initiated a schoolwide letter-writing program that will be recognized with a Promising Practices Award. The objective for this program is to foster positive relationships among pupils, teachers and staff members.

Mailboxes were placed outside each classroom and the halls were marked with signs such as Respect Lane. Every pupil, teacher and staff member at Blades was given an address at school.

After learning the components of a friendly letter and a well-addressed envelope, pupils began writing letters to other pupils or staff members in the school. The Blades Letter Writing Program promotes positive communication among members of the school community and encourages pupils and staff members to write kind letters to one another.

The Promising Practices Awards will be presented at the annual National Forum on Character Education Oct. 17 to Oct. 19 in Arlington, Va.