We believe that nurturing the heart and character of our students should be the first and foremost goal of educators. Only then, can young people gain confidence and attain a high self-esteem, leading them to success in their academic life.
A comprehensive character education program at The Principled Academy is based on classical religious values. Its goal is to develop within each child a moral compass, thus enabling good decision-making. All staff members are committed and trained to support the development of the whole child, academically, socially, and emotionally. We are also committed to cultivate close relationships between teachers, parents, and students based on frequent communication.
In 1988, several families who felt their children were not receiving adequate ethical education in their schools, created The Principled Academy. With an initial group of five students, to the current enrollment of 115 students, the present school developed to provide preschool to 8th grade character education.
So what is character education? It is the incorporation of core values and morals being taught which encompass honesty, respect, responsibility, self-control, compassion and a host of others from human dignity to decency. We believe these values are, in fact, necessary for the achievement of academic excellence and there is no academic excellence without moral excellence. This was the beginning of a lasting tradition, which continues to produce many wonderfully productive and successful citizens today.
How We Incorporate Character Education
Each morning, students and teachers gather to begin the new day with Morning Assembly. Morning Assembly starts by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and The Principled Academy Student Pledge. After a prayer, the teacher gives a 15-20 minute talk based on the Virtue of the Month. Once a week the whole school meets together to do Morning Assembly together.
Instead of going straight to daily lessons, Morning Assembly gives a ‘moral framework’ for the day. The virtues component in the morning gathering can become “the heart of the day.” It helps students start the day on a positive note and provides a personal challenge for behavior for the rest of the day.
The idea of Morning Assembly is supported by Mary Beth Klee of Core Virtues, the program we based our character education on: In the religious traditions around the world-Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist-early morning is the time to lift hearts to heaven and offer praise and thanksgiving for the blessing of a day renewed. (for more on Core Virtures, http://www.corevirtues.net/)
Virtues of the Month
Respect & Responsibility
Self-Control & Self-Discipline
Graciousness & Courtesy
Heroes of Character
Wonder & Joy
Each virtue is defined and discussed during Morning Assembly. Teachers use literature, video clips, and any other appropriate materials to reinforce and exemplify the theme. Some of the literature used is taken from the fine stories recommended in the Core Knowledge program. Sometimes, 7th and 8th grade students prepare a presentation based on the Virtue of the Month to younger grades as part of their leadership training.
Community service projects
are another way to help students understand the concepts of Virtues of the Month through action. Throughout the year, students are engaged in age-appropriate service projects.
California Coastal Clean-up
International Peace Day parade
Caroling for Seniors
Reading to Seniors
Kindness & Justice Challenge
Valentines for Veterans
Jump Rope for Heart
Alameda County Food Bank
For the Students:
We provide a safe, nurturing environment for learning and growing. We honor each student for their individual, unique gifts and talents. We encourage them to make good long-term decisions for future success in all areas of their lives.
For the Parents and Guardians:
We would like our parents to feel that our school is a close-knit community. We are committed to working together as a team. We encourage frequent, honest communication.
For our Community:
We enrich our community through regular student service, interaction, and community involment. Our goal is for our students to become responsible and respectful citizens who embrace stewardship.
For our Staff:
We respect each staff member’s unique gift and contributions. We collaborate, honoring our differences, and building on our strengths.
Many parents and teachers use the API, or other test scores to compare the academic excellence of different schools. Here at The Principled Academy, we are confident that academic excellence will naturally follow moral excellence.
Our basic assumption is that human beings have a nature that can be cultivated to exhibit not only intelligence of various kinds, but also fairness, empathy, good judgment, compassion, and a commitment to justice. We are truth-seeking and value-seeking beings, and education is the process by which we gain knowledge to create value. Intellectual and moral excellence in community with others is the sine qua non of the learning community.
We strive to be “The Character Education School of the Bay Area.” Our goal is to help our students to develop their intelligence - social, emotional, and intellectual intelligence - and moral virtues so they can help build a virtuous, healthy society.
Surprisingly, there is enormous agreement by parents about the values they want their children to learn. Respect, honesty, responsibility, self-control, compassion, and a host of others from human dignity to decency, just to name a few. These values are, in fact, necessary for the achievement of academic excellence. Children need moral coherence. That is, the values they are taught at home need to be re-enforced by the school and the religious or ethical community of their parents. It allows students to develop a strong moral core to withstand the confusing signals of the larger culture.