The quality of Orono Schools’ pre-K through 12th grade character education program has been recognized on a national level for the second time this year.
Orono will partner with the Los Angeles-based Josephson Institute for Ethics to serve as a regional training center. The School Board approved an agreement with the Institute at its Aug. 19 meeting.
The Institute and the district have worked together for the past seven years. Impressed by both the growth and integration of the character program into every facet of school life, the Institute approached the district about becoming a regional training center last spring, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Orcutt told the School Board.
Under the arrangement, Orono High School will host one regional training session each school year. In return for hosting, the district will receive a combination of free and reduced-cost registrations. This year’s seminar will be held Oct. 1-3.
Here is how the Institute is promoting the training to schools throughout the Midwest: “This seminar, hosted by Orono High School, will give you a firsthand look at a successful Character Counts! school in an award-winning National School District of Character. You'll have the chance to speak with faculty and students about the program that has helped cut both disciplinary referrals and suspensions by two-thirds, lower the dropout rate to zero and earn the school national recognition for academic achievement.”
The Institute was founded in 1987 by Michael Josephson, a former law professor and businessman. Often featured in the news media, Josephson has become one of the nation’s most sought-after ethicists. He was the keynote speaker and facilitated dialogues with many different stakeholder groups during Orono’s Character Summit in 2007.The Institute uses presentations, consultations, trainings, workshops and publications to focus the energy of people who want to do something to make our society more honest, fair, caring and accountable. Its Character Counts! program is one important component of the district’s comprehensive character education program. In addition, staff members, students and other community members have benefitted from the Institute’s trainings. These include School Board members and district administrators, who successfully completed “Living Up to the Public Trust,” and coaches, who were trained in “Pursuing Victory with Honor.”