It has always been one of the priorities of the NC Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) to ensure that schools are safe, orderly and caring communities where all students have every opportunity to learn and develop the character traits that will enable them to become productive members of society. When the North Carolina State Legislature passed into law the Student Citizen Act of 2001 (SL 2001-363), the state of North Carolina affirmed that the development of character in our children is the cornerstone of education. This Act requires every local board of education to develop and implement character education instruction, with input from the local community. NCDPI uses the framework from Character.Org to select and support State Schools of Character. We want to provide the leadership, resources, and support to develop ethical and caring citizens. NCDPI has developed several resources to assist districts and schools with character development effort in the past. These resources were intended to help local boards of education, school systems, schools, and communities develop high-quality education plans and strengthen existing programs.

Character Matters is the state-wide campaign launched on September 17, 2013 to support Character Education in North Carolina and is a partnership between the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and Capitol Broadcasting. The Character Matters campaign is intended to serve as a call to action for schools and communities to work towards a climate and culture that fosters the development of ethical citizens committed to building a more just and caring society and creating an environment where students feel valued, respected, protected and inspired.

The 11 Principles at a Glance as Defined by Character.Org

  1. The school community promotes core ethical and performance values as the foundation of good character.
  2. The school defines “character” comprehensively to include thinking, feeling, and doing.
  3. The school uses a comprehensive, intentional, and proactive approach to character development.
  4. The school creates a caring community.
  5. The school provides students with opportunities for moral action.
  6. The school offers a meaningful and challenging academic curriculum that respects all learners, develops their character, and helps them to succeed.
  7. The school fosters students’ self-motivation.
  8. The school staff is an ethical learning community that shares responsibility for character education and adheres to the same core values that guide the students.
  9. The school fosters shared leadership and long-range support of the character education initiative.
  10. The school engages families and community members as partners in the character-building effort.
  11. The school regularly assesses its culture and climate, the functioning of its staff as character educators, and the extent to which its students manifest good character.