Date Approved

4-10-2003

Embargo Period

5-3-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. in School Administration

Department

Educational Services and Leadership

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Hurley, Dennis A.

Subject(s)

Absegami High School (Absecon Highlands, N.J.); Moral education (Secondary)

Disciplines

Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration

Abstract

Character education provides many opportunities for students to learn how to be responsible citizens in their schools and communities by developing moral and virtuous traits. However, this path to maturity seems to create many challenges for today's students. Recent events in public schools and today's society have demonstrated that society has failed to adequately help students to meet these challenges. Although blame can be placed on the family or schools, schools must address the dilemma and try to correct it. The implementation of a character education program at the high school level and the incorporation of this program into the classroom should become a natural part of the school day.

The main goal of a high school character education program was to reduce the total number of students being referred to the vice principals' offices, particularly for offenses that seem to lack character judgment. This character education program began with the students in the in-school suspension classroom for evaluative measures. In this way, areas of growth for the program's future success in the high school could be determined. The procedures for the implementation of a character education program involved individual discussion and small group character activities. However, determining the exact effect of character education on students' choices was a complicated area to evaluate.

The data analysis procedure involved reviewing the list of 9th grade students referred for insubordination and/or disrespect during their freshmen school year (2001-2002). Once the character education program was implemented in the in-school suspension classroom during the 2002-2003 school year, in conjunction with individual discussions and character activities, the list of 9th grade students being referred for insubordination was reviewed again. The success of the program was determined if the same 9th grade students from last year (2001-2002), who were in the in-school suspension classroom for insubordination and/or disrespect, did not return to the in-school suspension classroom for insubordination and/or disrespect during the present school year. Although there was much more involved in the analysis of data than was previously considered, the character education program in the in-school suspension classroom was very successful.

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