Hart Middle School Recognized as a National School of Character

HART: Helpful, Accountable, Respectful, Thoughtful

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Rochester Community Schools is proud to announce that Hart Middle School has earned the prestigious designation as a National School of Character.

Character.org, a national advocate and leader for character development in schools and communities, certified Hart Middle School, along with 46 other schools and one district, as National Schools of Character.

“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,” said Dr. Arthur Schwartz, president of Character.org.

To earn this prestigious ranking, Character.org states that schools and districts must put into place “a comprehensive approach that inspires their students to understand, care about and consistently practice a set of core values that will enable them to flourish in school, in relationships, in the workplace, and as citizens.”

Hart underwent a rigorous evaluation process while documenting how they researched, planned, implemented, evaluated, and sustained the standards represented in the Character.org 11 Principles Framework for Schools.

“The process helped guide us in developing an all-inclusive approach, where students and staff can model, communicate, and live our core values and virtues,” said Assistant Principal Mike Bennion. “This common language generates meaningful conversations so students understand the bigger picture of what’s important in life, in addition to the math and science lesson.”

In 2019, Hart was the only middle school to be awarded state recognition. In 2021, the school applied for and was awarded the National School of Character.

“This is powerful work,” said Hart Principal Allison Roberts. “It’s about reshaping our school community: the way we lead; the way we interact with each other; the way we embrace teachable moments; and the way we care for each other. Through curriculum, relationship building, and purposeful interactions, students learn about being an upstander versus a bystander. They know the difference between being sympathetic and empathetic, and they practice self-discipline and control.”

Hart has embraced this character-building journey for the past six years. “Everything always goes back to our core values. Our students are learning how to be good people in addition to their academic studies,” said Roberts.

“I am extremely proud of our school community for embracing opportunities to exemplify what it means to be honest, trustworthy, caring, and kind,” said RCS Superintendent Dr. Robert Shaner. “We congratulate our students, staff, families, and community partners for all their hard work to achieve the designation as a National School of Character.”

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