Building local character continues.

For the third consecutive year, the Character Council of Edmond has provided the means for Edmond area educators to have the instruction and supporting materials to help their students build good charactership at no additional costs to an already budget conscious educational system.

This September, 43 educators representing eight area schools, both public and private, were invited by the council to locally receive the character training designed by the Character First! Educational Training Institute from Oklahoma City.

The initial efforts began a number of years ago as part of the vision by the council, to promote good character traits and to help Edmond to become a “city of character.”

One of Edmond’s greatest resources, said Council President Jim Hulsey, in making Edmond a city of character are the children in the Edmond community. In the beginning the council only had enough financing in place to offer the training to one school, a middle school, to send about 15 educators to the training, added Hulsey. However, after the replies the council received from those few teachers, the council was encouraged to continue in their efforts.

“Three years ago we didn’t know, going in, what the response was going to be when we trained the middle school teachers,” said Hulsey. “However, after receiving such responses as ‘building character at this age will greatly benefit students’; ‘this is more to the heart of student behavior’; ‘I think this program will make my students better citizens’; I think our school will be a better community after introducing this program’; ‘improve the classroom’; and then, ‘Instantly I can use it. Character Council, keep doing this. It is wonderful!’ we knew we had found the right tool.”

The second year, with additional funding being made available, over 60 area educators were trained during two half-day trainings.

However, despite limited funding and despite the overwhelming numbers of this year’s middle school student population nearing 4,300, and a total student population being over 19,000 in the public schools alone, the council remains committed.

“The council realized that to sustain what we had begun in the school system would take a commitment for years to come. We knew that the schools have continuous turnover of teachers, some of which may have had the character training. At that time we became committed to the area principals, who have been very supportive, as have the teachers, to keep the character initiative alive and, funding allowed, we would continue to re-supply their need for character trained educators,” said Hulsey.

It has only been by oversight, added Hulsey, that the council has excluded any area middle schools. “It was only recently that I learned of a few private area schools in the Edmond area that we had missed, and we’re currently making plans to include them for future trainings.” And although the focus on character in schools thus far has been in the middle schools, the future plans by the council, one day, funding allowed, will be to include elementary and high schools, added Hulsey.

“Our young people are our future; the resource for what this community will become. It should be not only the responsibility of the Character Council, but the responsibility and involvement by area businesses, churches, local government, law enforcement and our citizenry to support an initiative to encourage this resource to become champions of good character,” added Hulsey, “in order that Edmond may become a ‘city of good character.’”