Wass joins Larson Middle and only two other Michigan schools that have achieved this designation for the 2018-19 school year, having demonstrated its use of character development to drive a positive impact on academics, student behavior and school-wide cultural climate.
Wass Principal Matt Jansen was elated to receive the news: “When I first learned that we are being recognized as a State School of Character, it reaffirmed all of the hard work, collaboration, and teamwork that has gone into our eight-year journey incorporating character into our learning community. I’m happy for our students, staff, and parents. Each group has played an extremely important role in living out our core values of responsibility, respect, integrity, and perseverance.”
Jansen gave special acknowledgement to his staff, crediting them with providing a positive, safe learning environment (known as the “Wass Wolves’ Way”) to set the stage for world-class instruction and pedagogy. “Mark Cavataio (Wass Physical Education Teacher) and Sarah Clos (Wass Art Teacher) have co-chaired our Character Education Team in our continuous improvement plan for the past 8 years. Their leadership has been instrumental in the implementation of our character education practices. The reality is that our entire staff has played a part in the Wass Wolves’ Way and carried out our practices on the front lines each and every day. ”
Jansen is grateful to serve in the Troy School District under the leadership of Superintendent Dr. Rich Machesky, whose world-class vision includes an emphasis on the red pillar: social-emotional well-being for all members of the district, along with Kris Griffor, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Instruction. “They have been extremely supportive of Wass’ practices and initiatives and have played a huge part in creating the positive culture in our school,” praised Jansen.
The Schools of Character application process is an opportunity for schools and districts to receive thoughtful feedback for growth and excellence in the area of character development through Character.org’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education framework which includes providing students with opportunities for moral action, fostering shared leadership and engaging families and communities as partners in character-building efforts. It is also a method of recognizing exemplary schools and districts in the nation.
Wass and Larson Middle are now in the running for the National School of Character award. This designation, which may include a site-visit by Character.org staff sometime soon, will be announced before the end of the year.