NEWTON, NJ—In February of this year, Merriam Avenue School, along with 23 other schools, was named as one of New Jersey’s 2017 Schools of Character, which put them in the running to be named a National School of Character in May.

​C​haracter.org, a non-profit organization that “validates character initiatives in schools and communities around the world” since 1998, designated Merriam Avenue School as one of the 2017 National Schools of Character, and the first ever in Sussex County.

Principal Kevin Stanton made the announcement to teachers, support staff, and PTO members at a staff appreciation breakfast and broadcasted the news to students.  ,

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“Receiving this distinction is a credit to the hard work and dedication of our teachers, paraprofessionals, parents, students, counselors and all of the staff at Merriam Avenue School”, said Stanton.  “We don't do this work for awards. We support and care for children and families because it is the right thing to do. But we do appreciate the recognition because it highlights the importance of character education in our school.”

According to a press release from Character.org, the schools and districts that are chosen each year have to do “demonstrate a dedicated focus on character development programs and a positive impact on academic achievement, student behavior, school climate and their communities.”

After an in-depth evaluation process, the schools who were found to have exemplified these models of character development were selected first as the 2017 New Jersey Schools of Character and then automatically forwarded and put in the running for the National level of award.

Merriam Avenue School along with 83 additional schools and four districts from 21 states were announced as having received the award of “2017 National Schools and Districts of Character”.

The designated schools and districts will be honored at the 24th Annual N​ational Forum on Character Education, which will be held the weekend of October 20-21, 2017, in Arlington, Virginia by Change.org.