“Special Assignment” – St. Louis middle school students learn character education

ST. LOUIS - St. Louis middle school students and their teachers are working together on a special assignment.

St. Louis-based CharacterPlus has selected Academy of Entrepreneurship Studies (AESM) Middle School at L’Ouverture for a three-year program on character education.

The CharacterPlus Way program is customized to help foster a sense of belonging for staff and students.

Students will select specific “character” words by which they want to live, Tami Bopp, Sr. Program Consultant for CharacterPlus Way, said.

“Some of traits that are most popular that come up, are respect, responsibility, integrity, cooperation, empathy,” Bopp said.  “We go into the long term where we help them live those traits, and come up with ways that they can show that at school, and show that at home, and show up in the community.”

The school, located at 3021 Hickory Street in the Gate District of South St. Louis, was selected out of several in the metropolitan area. The three-year partnership is made possible through a CharacterPlus Founders’ Grant, through donations by the McDonnell family in St. Louis.

Victoria Carter, a social worker at AESM, said everyone in the building can benefit from the education, not just students.

“Just taking ‘integrity.’ How am I going to show this in the classroom? Teachers – how are they going to be patient with the students. How are they going to help them improve they think about things,” she said.

Bopp said the program has proven results in the short and long term.

“We have seen that academic achievement goes up, and office referrals go down. And so you do create a much more caring school, and a caring community, when all those pieces come together,” she said.