A Happy Contagion: Character Education is Spreading Like the Flu … But With Far Better Results!

In July 2013, Colchester Middle School introduced its new collaboratively written vision statement, which states:

“CMS is an inclusive learning community committed to providing engaging, innovative, and rigorous academics while also building ‘TRRFCC’ character in its youth.”

(The acronym “TRRFCC”—pronounced “terrific”—stands for trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship; the focus upon these six specific components of character comes directly from the work of the Character Education Partnership [CEP].)

Since unveiling the new vision statement, CMS’s enhanced character development work has been focused and ongoing. As an example, CMS recently celebrated Random Acts of Kindness Week (RAK) (organized by CMS counselor Kara Pawlusiak), during which time, students and faculty were encouraged to make special efforts to creatively offer kindness to one another. Special activities were held throughout the week to bolster CMS’s efforts in this initiative.

In fact, random acts of kindness have already sprung up around the CMS community. Last week, a mysterious benefactor cleared snow from cars in the parking lot, and stacks of cards filled with wellness-related tips regarding nutritious eating, exercise, increasing joy in life, and much more curiously appeared in employee mailboxes.

“It’s great to see this take off so well!” Principal Gruss said. “Small acts of kindness have a bigger impact than you think. We truly have a TRRFCC school community on all levels!”

A secret benefactor surprised CMS staffers with wellness cards

A secret benefactor surprised CMS staffers with wellness cards

And as Principal Gruss stated in our July 23 article, “Building and sustaining a focus on character supports us in meeting key issues facing twenty-first-century learning communities, especially in the areas of academic achievement, academic integrity, bullying prevention, school climate, and service learning.”

For more information, please contact CMS at (802) 264-5800, or e-mail Principal Gruss at grussd@csdvt.org.

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