OLD BRIDGE — Six education programs developed at the Leroy Gordon Cooper, Walter M. Schirra, Madison Park and Memorial elementary schools, and two practices from Old Bridge High School, have received Promising Practice awards through Character.org for 2018, according to information provided by the Old Bridge Public School District.
In addition, Madison Park Elementary School was recertified as a National School of Character for 2018.
The programs and schools will recognized at the 25th anniversary celebration of Character.org at its annual conference set for Oct. 4-7 in Washington, D.C.
The winning Promising Practices include Coop’s Little Pantry at the Cooper school, which was created to enhance the community while simultaneously assisting families in need, and Project BLUE (Building Leadership Understanding and Education) at the Schirra school, which is a student-led program fostering and building friendships between children with autism and the general education population through play activities.
The other winning programs include the Halloween Costume Swap and Shop, a local service program in which the Madison Park community collects and provides Halloween costumes for children who are in need.
Hope’s Heroes at Memorial school strives to improve the school’s social climate for every learner, through social service learning and student-driven education.
The programs recognized at Old Bridge High School are Attendance Madness, which is a collaborative effort among all community stakeholders to measure, assess and encourage regular attendance among staff members and students; and Project Unified, an in-school and after-school program that creates lasting relationships between general education and special education students.
Character.org sponsors the annual program to showcase innovative best practices that demonstrate impacts across the nation and abroad. Character.org encourages educators with similar needs to learn from and replicate these initiatives, according to the organization.
In 2018, Character.org awarded 258 Promising Practices to schools, districts and youth-serving organizations in the United States as well as internationally.
This year, the application fees for the 2018 Promising Practices were paid for through community sponsors, which include JEI Learning Center of Old Bridge; Ivy Masters Learning Center, Paul Pscolka; Prep2XL, LLC, John DiClerico; Stress Care of NJ; and NJ Spine and Wellness, according to the statement.
Assistant Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Hoeker commended staff members and students for their Promising Practice awards and for the recertification of the Madison Park school as a National School of Character.
Hoeker was the principal at Madison Park when the school earned recognition as a School of Character. She is also a former principal of the Alan B. Shepard School, the district’s first National School of Character school.
She has led teams to bring character education to the district’s 12 elementary schools, two middle schools and high school, according to the statement. Three years ago, the district was named one of three National Districts of Character in the United States by character.org.
“Old Bridge administrators, staff and students continue to plan and implement innovate practices that have a lasting impact on our students and the greater community,” Hoeker said. “I am particularly proud of our students who lead many of these initiatives and continue to serve as role models for others to emulate.”