Responsive Classroom is a program in which the majority of our teaching staff has been trained. One component of RC is the above character traits. As a school we have adopted these five as core to supporting our school's social environment.
While this may not be the most comprehensive list of character traits, it is a list which we believe is very important for students to internalize for later success. Our goal is for school staff to provide support in authentic situations so students learn how to manage themselves. We want to move away from settings in which adults demand obedience to a school setting where students have ownership of the expectations and can define and monitor their behavior using self-discipline.
Teachers use the traits and germane lessons revolving around quality literature to reinforce each idea. We extend CARES instruction to the full school level during assemblies focused on the traits. Throughout the year I host read alouds in the Media Center. At each of these times I choose a quality text (with the same theme the classroom teachers are using) to read and discuss with every grade level. At these times we find ways to support positive decision-making and increase communication across the grade level.
CARES is not all we do. It is an important step for us to use during our highly focused academic day. Without a postive environment, I believe students will not be as successful as possible. We use CARES and RC to help us meet our rigorous academic goals.