SCDSB Hosts Character Development Symposium
The Sudbury Catholic District School Board was the host of a special forum designed to review the Ministry of Education’s new initiative “Finding Common Ground, Character Development in Ontario’s Schools, K-12.” Representatives from the Ministry of Education’s Student Achievement Office, Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat guided Directors of Education, principals, teachers, students and the Board’s Partners in Catholic Education on an overview of the “key beliefs and principles” outlined in the Ministry’s discussion paper during the full day session.
Ann Perron, Senior Executive Officer, for the Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat noted that many school boards already have character development programs in place and that this component is inherent in Catholic Boards through their “faith-based” learning and it’s Catholic Graduate Expectations.
Over the last three years, the government of Ontario through the Ministry of Education has introduced a series of initiatives designed to enhance academic achievement for all students in Ontario’s publicly funded elementary and secondary schools. Through the Character Development Initiative the government addresses a complementary and equally critical aspect of student success, focused on developing the whole student as a learner, an individual, and an active member of the school and broader community. The concept of character development is rooted in the belief that parents, schools and communities share in the responsibility for, and the benefits of the development of young people as caring, empathetic and involved citizens.
The Ministry of Education realizes that “developing character” in students is a shared responsibility. There is a need for families and schools to engage cooperatively to encourage students’ learning and maturing as social beings. Family and school alliances are necessary to create a web of support for continuous improvement in schools. Character development, at its best permeates the entire life of the school as it is woven into policies, programs, practices, procedures and interactions. It is a way of life as it recognizes that a respectful, safe and orderly school climate enhances learning.