You are here

Blog: Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

Leaving A Legacy

In 2006, a group of Abbotsford Educators presented to the Abbotsford Board of Education on what they had learned at a Character Conference in Toronto. Their message was that the character and conduct of our youth reflects the character and conduct of our society; therefore, every adult had the responsibility to teach and model the core ethical values and every social institution has the responsibility to teach and model the core ethical values and every social institution has the responsibility to promote the development of good character. This discussion led leaders from across Abbotsford’s organizational spectrum to meet in 2011 to establish a common set of shared values and begin the city’s character movement called Character Abbotsford. Using the values of respect, responsibility, integrity, empathy, courage and service their commitment to intentionally promote character began in businesses, organizations and schools throughout Abbotsford. In 2012, the Character Abbotsford executive established the BC Schools of Character (BCSOC) organization to specifically help schools in BC develop a shared set of values and promote positive character in their students. 

In 2015, Prince Charles Elementary joined the BCSOC, with the purpose of developing a shared set of community values and intentionally developing students character. Today staff focus on the values of Respect, Empathy, Integrity, Honesty and Excellence as a means to promote good character. Staff are purposeful in sharing these values and helping students act in ways that reflect these values. Students are given the opportunity to demonstrate acts of respect and empathy at school and throughout the community. Regular assemblies, newsletters, websites, videos and awards recognize students who consistently demonstrate these values to others, themselves, and their environment.

The new BC Curriculum, implemented in 2016, focuses on character development and has validated the work of Character Abbotsford and BCSOC schools, such as Prince Charles Elementary. The new BC Curriculum is made up of the core competencies: Communication, Thinking, and Personal and Social Responsibility. The Personal and Social competency, which is to be embedded throughout the curriculum, is intentional in helping students develop their character. The government states that students who demonstrate social responsibility are active, caring, and responsible members of society. They collaborate effectively with others, demonstrate a strong sense of community-mindedness, and take actions to support diversity and the environment. They show respect for everyone’s rights, and demonstrate empathy and a sense of ethical care as they develop relationships and consider differing perspectives. It is evident from this description that the BC Government expects all educators and schools to focus on the development of character.

If your organization or school is interested in exploring character development and needs support please visit the Character Abbotsford website or the BCSOC website to find out more about Character development. The Character Canada Conference (on Oct. 20, 2017 at Abbotsford Senior Secondary) and the Youth Forum (on February 2, 2018 at the University of Fraser Valley) are just some of the ways Character Abbotsford and BCSOC continue to promote character development in our community and throughout Canada. This Character movement, energized by BC’s new curriculum, continues to press forward towards leaving a “Legacy of Character”.

CAMERON FRIESEN
Principal, Prince Charles Elementary