Gilroy Today 2009 09 Fall | Page 10

Character Counts

Character Counts

sounds simple and as American as motherhood , apple pie and baseball , but somewhere along the way many of our schools lost track of the concept . It encompasses the values that attract many to private school . Gilroy Unified School District has recognized this problem and is doing something about it .
For the 2009-2010 school year , all schools in the Gilroy Unified School District ( GUSD ) will implement the Character
Counts program . In the past Las Animas and Glen View elementary schools implemented the program . Christopher High School committed to the program before they opened their doors and now all schools in the District are committed to the program .
Character Counts got its start in 1992 when the Southern California nonprofit Josephson Institute of Ethics hosted a group of experts in ethics and character education . Their goal was to identify ways to work together by developing a common language of core ethical values that transcend religious , political and socioeconomic differences .
The conference , held in Aspen , Colorado , produced the Aspen Declaration on Character Education , which identified the values now known as the Six Pillars of Character :
Trustworthiness Respect Responsibility Fairness Caring Citizenship
To advance the goals of the Aspen Declaration , the Josephson Institute in 1993 launched Character Counts . GUSD Superintendent Debra Flores had seen the effectiveness of the program when she worked in the Santa Barbara area . Glen View Principal Scott Otteson had been involved with the program in his previous position and was quick to bring it to Glen View . Las Animas Principal Sylvia Reyes saw the benefits and adopted the program .
Students are taught to recognize and value the six pillars .