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Students Learn R-E-S-P-E-C-T and What It Means for Their Success in School | Schools

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Students Learn R-E-S-P-E-C-T and What It Means for Their Success in School

KALAMAZOO, Mich., October 14, 2014—Students at Paramount Charter Academy are not only studying math, reading, and science this month, but they are also learning about respect and how it shapes their personal character.


Along with an academic program geared toward college prep, Paramount also offers a Moral Focus curriculum. Each month, teachers incorporate a different virtue into their lesson plans. The virtue for October is respect which is really important for teachers and students to hold for each other in order to have a successful classroom.


“We want our students to grow academically and emotionally,” said Principal Jodi Donkin. “Learning the virtues outlined in the Moral Focus curriculum helps students think about their actions and how they impact others. It has a trickle-down effect that leads to well managed classrooms and better interactions between students and their peers.”


Other virtues studied throughout the school year include: gratitude, self-control, perseverance, courage, encouragement, compassion, and integrity. This month, students are invited to share what they have learned through a writing and art contest held by National Heritage Academies (NHA).


The contest started several years ago as a way to encourage students to expand their writing skills through the specialized curriculum. Each year 30 students, out of NHA’s 80 schools, are chosen as the winners. Their writing or artwork is published in a Moral Focus Anthology that is distributed to all schools.


In last year’s competition, then fourth grader Yasmine Diaz, chose to write about perseverance. Her story said in part, “Abraham Lincoln gave us an example that just because you fail, it doesn’t mean you are going to fail all your life. Those failures will give you strength to be able to achieve your dreams.”


Parents at Paramount Charter Academy enjoy this unique program and the added benefit it provides students. In the Spring Parent Survey, 85 percent of parents said their child has become more respectful and caring while attending the school.


Each month, the school holds at least one Moral Focus assembly to honor students who showcase one of the virtues in the classroom.


“We like to think we are partnering with our parents by reinforcing the same message they are teaching at home at school, and then celebrating when students make good choices,” said Donkin.


Paramount Charter Academy is a free public charter school serving students in young 5s through eighth grade.