Character education has become an increasingly important aspect of the school experience. The ultimate goal of AZ Academy’s character education program is to challenge students to make good choices that lead them to a successful and happy future.
School-wide, all students at AZ Academy begin their day with a morning meeting in their homeroom. Morning meetings build community, set a positive tone, increase excitement about learning, and improve academic and social skills. Students are provided with opportunities to greet the members of their class community; engage in character building activities; discuss news and announcements; and share ideas, opinions and experiences.
“Catch” Dragon Spirit – Character Education Programs
“Dragon Spirit” is the phrase AZ Academy uses to define exemplary character in our community, but students need exposure and practice with these positive traits so that they have the tools to “Catch” it! Therefore, in addition to the grade-level specific character education that occurs in the morning meetings, AZ Academy has three overarching programs that teach and recognize positive character attributes. First, students learn the “Virtue of the Week”, a word that is defined, discussed, and used to create a personal statement that demonstrates its use. Second, students are given beads when they display positive attributes, liking helping a friend who has fallen down. These beads are kept on a bracelet and at the end of the week, the student with the most beads in each grade level is recognized as the student of the week. Finally, students are expected to follow the 5 Be’s (Be on time, Be prepared, Be responsible, Be respectful, and Be proud). Students practice this mantra in sign language and are evaluated on their performance each quarter.
AZ Academy’s Guidance Department’s goal is to assist all students in the process of personal, academic and career development so that they may reach their full potential as productive citizens in a changing society. It is predicated on the belief that all students are unique and dynamic individuals capable of becoming responsive and productive adults. Our program is proactive and preventative in nature and is committed to meeting the needs of all students using age appropriate interventions, lessons and programs delivered systematically by the school’s guidance counselor and other support personnel.
The Guidance Department provides integration of character education, intervention services, referrals to other professionals in the community who can assist students with reaching their full potential, peer help, dissemination of information, individual and group counseling, and participation in extracurricular activities that develop social skills and foster healthy lifestyles. These services are provided in conjunction with consultation with parents, teachers, administrators, and other educators. Continued…
Opening/Closing Ceremonies – Building Community
As a small school, AZ Academy focuses on building a strong sense of community by hosting two events every week. In the Opening Ceremony, students and staff start the week together in an assembly to share news and announcements, to exercise, to act out our mission statement, to practice the 5 Be’s and introduce the Virtue of the Week, and to sing the VI March. It’s a great way to start off the week together! Finally, at the end of the week we have a Closing Ceremony where we celebrate birthdays, recognize the students of the week, play a game, and dance to popular music, like Cupid Shuffle. Once each month, there is an extended Closing Ceremony called a Spirit Event where the entire school competes in relay races, quiz bowl competitions, and more. Everyone has a great time as we finish our week together!
First Days of School Model – Classroom Management
Developed by Harry and Rosemary Wong, AZ Academy has adopted a classroom management system called the First Days of School that defines procedures and policies in the classroom. For example, students all head their papers the same way in each class, they line up outside of the door and are greeted by the teacher each period, and every class begins with bellwork, so that students get on task right away. This uniformity is important so that students know what to do and how to do it, which leads to success in the classroom!
These exciting programs show that character education is a priority at AZ Academy!