Project Wisdom is one of the nation’s oldest character education programs and is currently licensed in over 19,000 schools across the United States. Each component of this nationally recognized program works in concert with the others to create lasting change in campuses, classrooms, students, and staff.
Character education (CE) is an intentional effort to help students understand, care about, and act upon core ethical values. Students with good character are caring, just, and responsible. They have developed an internal motivation to do their best and to contribute to the world around them. Academic performance often improves.
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is a process which helps students to apply their knowledge and skills to managing their emotions. Through SEL, they are better able to make responsible decisions, resolve conflicts, set goals, improve relationships, and act upon empathy for others.
Each school has a unique set of needs and expectations. Here are some of the many ways schools across the country have implemented the program:
Principal narrates: On many of our campuses the principal narrates these character-building messages and clearly establishes his or her role in terms of ethical and caring leadership. We are repeatedly told that narration of these messages opens doors of communication between the principal and the student body.
Teachers or counselors narrate: Teachers and/or counselors have taken the job as narrators, communicating to students that they care about the values fostered while generating meaningful conversation between them and students.
Community members narrate: We have many schools that invite parents, grandparents, and community members to campus to narrate the messages. Some schools send students out into the community to pre-record community members. This is a great way to involve the community in your character education initiative while sending a clear signal to students that the community cares about the education of their hearts as well as their minds.
Celebrities narrate: At one of our middle schools in Virginia, a juvenile-court judge served as guest narrator for an entire week. A former student who is now a professional football player also came to campus to narrate a message. High school students in Kansas recorded the lieutenant governor of the state on video and then broadcast the message on their in-house television system.
Mystery narrator: One of our schools has a “mystery narrator” once a week. They tell us there is always a great deal of speculation about who the narrator will be.
Students narrate: On many campuses students serve as narrators. This is a great opportunity to foster leadership and public-speaking skills. Some schools allow students to narrate as a reward for honorable behavior.
Everyone gets to narrate: On some campuses the role of narrator is shared by everyone on campus, including custodians, cafeteria workers, and office workers. This is a great way to enlist the support of everyone on campus, creating a greater sense of community.
Project Wisdom encourages students to reflect upon the meaning of civic and personal values and the application of those values in their daily lives. Our data indicate reductions in discipline referrals as well as strong improvements in teacher morale, school climate, and social-emotional competencies. Some evidence suggests that good character education raises student grades and test scores.
Key Findings for Campuses
Key Findings for Educators
Each subscription comes with a one-year license to broadcast Project Wisdom messages on campus, and one-year of online access to lesson plans, Just for Yous, and Beyond the Infraction materials. Each component supports the other to help create a more safe, caring, and effective school environment.
A subscription also comes with:
Our weekly or monthly themes help establish a common “virtue vocabulary” on campus. Examples of themes include:
Teachers can create teachable moments throughout the day by using these words and themes. Many of our schools post these themes on their marquees and main bulletin boards. Many schools communicate the upcoming themes to parents through newsletters and homework hotlines so they can be reinforced at home. Counselors and staff can use the words and themes in guidance sessions, detention, and in-house suspension.
Ten Wise Choices
Rules for living as a positive and productive citizen of the world.
Wise Choices for a Comprehensive Character Education Initiative
A mini-guide for creating a comprehensive character education initiative on your campus. Our daily messages provide an effective springboard for such an initiative. This guide provides suggestions for creating a pool of support and resources that will greatly improve results.