NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ -The North Plainfield School District has been selected to receive a 2015 Promising Practice designation from Character.org. We received this award because of our implementation of a unique, specific and effective character education strategy that other schools may learn from and even replicate. Character.org will honor the 2015 Promising Practices recipients at their annual conference in October 2015 which will be held in Atlanta, GA. where representatives of the district's committee will have the opportunity to share their successful strategies with other educators.
Our Practice, Rebirth, Resilience, Respect: Avenue of Flags in North Plainfield is a year round program that includes members of our student NJ ROTC, along with their peers, staff members and residents coming together for eight outdoor ceremonies where we remember and honor those who have given their lives in service to our country, those who are veterans and those who will be serving our country. We have implemented this program through the use of sharing oral recollections, guest speakers, read alouds, discussions, showcase displays, songs, activities such as making quilts for and then delivering those to veterans, learning American Sign Language to perform our National Anthem at Fort McHenry, to learning about the importance of the K9 squad, to collecting and donating cans of pet food to service animals, to hand making wish wreaths for display throughout the schools and borough offices, to assemblies recognizing staff members who took the oath of citizenship, to participating alongside of community groups in local parades. Our committee has created and shared a list of books, TV shows on PBS and from Teaching Tolerance and Facing History, and activities that can be used on a month by month basis to educate students and adults. We have purposefully incorporated interdisciplinary connections from the Fine and Performing Arts to Physical Education, from Science to English Language Arts have been planned to facilitate awareness of the upstander and the bystander in our lessons and assemblies.
We continue to weave the threads of academic, social and emotional learning together as we invite students to an assembly where the speaker is a Holocaust survivor. From providing a quilt to veterans, from acknowledging survivors, from volunteering, mentoring and participating in sports, boy scouts, girl scouts, honor society and other organizations, our students have shared thank yous in person and through letters and cards, our students have stood shoulder to shoulder with Medal of Honor recipients, our students have taken these experiences and brought them to college campus; this I know because when they come back to visit during their winter and spring recess, they tell me about what they've carried on.
Through these experiences and opportunities for reflection, students forge bonds with each other and with members of the community while learning about conflict resolution, collaboration, and ethical decision making processes. On a day to day basis, we promote academic integrity. We acknowledge that character development does not happen all at once or overnight. It takes time, support, diligence and effort.
Practice, Rebirth, Resilience, Respect: Avenue of Flags in North Plainfield was first envisioned by Dr. Hope Blecher, English/Language Arts Supervisor and retired teacher, Ms. Marybeth Winsor. ForAction Fellows currently supporting this project include Dr. Blecher, Michael Mulry, Suzanne Sapega, Susan Feibush and Michele Armento, along with NJROTC Chief Michael DeJean and Lt. Colonel Eric Hansen. The music staff of NPMS/HS take turns participating as singers or musicians with the support of Tom Mazur, performing arts supervisor.