ELIZABETH, NJ - William F. Halloran School No. 22, Juan Pablo Duarte – José Julián Martí School No. 28, and John E. Dwyer Technology Academy were among 84 schools and seven districts in 15 states to be recognized as a 2020 National School of Character by Character.org.

Each year, Character.org and its state affiliates select schools and districts that demonstrate a dedicated focus on character development, which has a true positive impact on academic achievement, student behavior, and school climate.

Through an in-depth and rigorous evaluation process, the schools selected as National Schools of Character were found to be exemplary models in character development. Criteria for selection are based on Character.org’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education, a framework to assist schools in providing students with opportunities for moral action, fostering shared leadership and engaging families and communities as partners in the character-building effort. State and National Schools of Character retain their status for a five-year period.

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“We are pleased to announce and celebrate the schools and school districts who have earned this national recognition,” said Dr. Arthur Schwartz, President of Character.org. “Each of these schools and school districts has put in place a comprehensive approach to help their students understand, care about, and consistently practice the core values that will enable them to flourish in school, in relationships, in the workplace, and as citizens.”

In its 27th year, Character.org will honor all 2020 National Schools of Character at the 2020 National Forum, which is scheduled to be held in March 2021 due to COVID-19. The forum is the largest character development conference in the world, drawing people from many countries to learn best practices and the latest research in character development from some of the most well-known and leading thinkers and experts in the field.

Elizabeth Public Schools is now home to nine district schools that have been designated as state schools of character, eight of which received national school of character honors as well. School No. 28, with its 2020 designation, became the first district school to have received State and National School of Character honors twice, previously earning the distinctions in 2015.

In addition to School No. 22, School No. 28, and Dwyer Technology Academy who have earned state and national recognition, past recipients include Nicholas S. LaCorte – Peterstown School No. 3, which earned the state honor in 2016 and the national honor in 2019; Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 (2018), which also was named a National School of Character; Jerome Dunn Academy of Mathematics, Technology, and the Arts School No. 9 (2019);   Dr. Albert Einstein Academy School No. 29 (2019), which also received the National School of Character designation; Frances C. Smith Early Childhood Center School No. 50 (2019), which also received National School of Character honors; and Donald Stewart Center for Early Childhood School No. 51 (2016), which also received the National School of Character designation.

“Building character through classroom lessons and school activities is an important part of creating a positive school climate,” said Elizabeth Public Schools Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer. “Our nine schools that have been recognized by Character.org, including School No. 22, School No. 28, and Dwyer Technology Academy, continue to develop school climates that inspire success and togetherness through outstanding character education.”

“Our students and staff are dedicated both to achieving high levels of academic performance and to being caring citizens who value giving back to their community through acts of kindness,” said Elizabeth Board of Education President Diane Barbosa. “Congratulations to the students and staff at School No. 22, School No. 28, and Dwyer Technology Academy for their amazing efforts that have resulted in them being recognized as National Schools of Character and for their individual and collective contributions that make their respective school communities special places.”