Early Childhood Center a National School of Character

Early Childhood Center teacher Jana Dunlap strings beads with her students, from second left, Gracie Vallier, Samilynn Earp and Rai'Anna Murphy. ECC has been named a National School of Character.

Muskogee Early Childhood Center has been named a Character.org 2021 National School of Character for a second time.

ECC was an honorary State School of Character in 2015 and became a State and National School of Character in 2016. The distinction lasts for five years, and 2021 was ECC’s renewal year. 

ECC Principal Malinda Lindsey said the school is honored to be named a 2021 National School of Character. 

"The application and review process has been rigorous but has given us the opportunity to reflect on every detail of our curriculum, pedagogy, and practice,” Lindsey said. “This reflective process ignites growth and continuous improvement. We are truly excited to receive this distinction and look forward to continued integration of these important life skills into our daily work with children.”

Character.org named 47 schools and one district as National Schools of Character, with schools in Brazil and Mexico also certified. Muskogee’s ECC is one of two schools in the state of Oklahoma, joined by Pryor’s Jefferson Elementary School, to receive the National School of Character recognition. ECC remains the only early childhood program in Oklahoma to be a State and National School of Character.

“We are pleased to announce and celebrate the schools and school district that have earned this national recognition,” said Dr. Arthur Schwartz, president of Character.org. “The educators at these schools model and reinforce the core values of respect and dignity. They are teaching their students to be honest and trustworthy, to contribute their time and talents to the common good, and when necessary, to show the courage to stand up for what is right.”

Since its inception, the National Schools of Character program has impacted over 3 million students, staff, parents, and community members. The schools and districts that apply must meet the rigorous standards articulated in Character.org’s 11 Principles of Framework for Schools. Each school is assessed by a team of trained evaluators.

"We congratulate these schools for completing the application and review process in a year that has been anything but typical," adds Lori Soifer, who directs the Schools of Character program. “Each of these schools has put in place a comprehensive approach to help students understand, care about, and consistently practice the character strengths that will help them flourish in school, in relationships, in the workplace, and as citizens."

Character.org will honor the 2021 National Schools of Character at its next annual forum, to be held virtually, Oct. 20-22. 

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