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Shades Cahaba Elementary Named a 2017 National School of Character
Posted On:
Friday, May 12, 2017
National School of Character Badge
National School of Character Badge

May 12, 2017 – Shades Cahaba Elementary has been named a National School of Character by, the nonprofit organization that validates character initiatives in schools and communities around the world.  Shades Cahaba was the only school in Alabama to receive this award, and only 83 schools and 4 districts from 21 states were designated as 2017 National Schools and Districts of Character. 

“Being recognized as a National School of Character is a great honor. It acknowledges the effort this whole community has put into educating not only the brains of our students, but also their hearts. I’m so proud of the students, teachers, and parents as we continue on this journey of living and learning the Shades Cahaba Way,” Principal Dr. John Lowry said.

This is Shades Cahaba’s third time to be designated as a National School of Character, having been designated in 2006 and 2012. Shades Cahaba focuses character education around the Shades Cahaba Way, six statements that set out the values for learning and working at Shades Cahaba. They are: Speak for yourself...and others when needed, Listen to others...and they will listen to you, Avoid put-downs...who needs them, Take charge of are responsible for you, Show respect...every person is important, and Have is a gift.  

“The Shades Cahaba Way provides direction, simple reasoning, and motivation to all stakeholders on how we should live and learn together in our changing world,” Dr. Lowry said.

Since the inception of’s Schools of Character program in 1998, 474 schools and 30 districts have been designated as National Schools or Districts of Character, impacting more than 1.5 million students’ lives.

Each year, (formerly The Character Education Partnership) and its state affiliates select schools and districts that demonstrate a dedicated focus on character development programs and a positive impact on academic achievement, student behavior, school climate and their communities. Schools and districts selected in January as State Schools of Character, along with those schools who reapplied in their 3-year designation, were forwarded to for consideration for national recognition as National Schools of Character.

Through an in-depth and rigorous evaluation process, these schools were found to be exemplary models of character development. Of the schools named today, 17 schools are former National Schools of Character reapplying for the national designation. Criteria for selection are based on’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education, a framework to assist schools in providing students with opportunities for moral action, fostering shared leadership and engaging families and communities as partners in the character-building effort.

"At, we are extremely proud of this year’s National Schools of Character as well as our district recipients. Their dedication to character development has proven over time to increase the well-being of so many students, their families and their communities across the United States and beyond, " said Doug Karr,’s President & CEO. He continued, "Validating character initiatives is at the core of what we do because it creates fertile conditions for multi-generational character growth where students and those in their lives thrive as ethical members of our society. The students of National Schools of Character are developing a lifelong skillset that they will leverage well into their adult lives.” will honor the designated schools and districts at its 24th National Forum on Character Education to be held the weekend of October 20-21, 2017, in Arlington, VA.

About Founded in 1993,, is a national nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. The mission of the organization is to provide leadership and advocacy for character worldwide. It is dedicated to help people everywhere become educated, inspired and empowered to be ethical and compassionate citizens. validates character initiatives in schools, sports, families and the workplace through certifications and sharing of best practices. Results of effective character initiatives in schools typically include improved academic achievement, a decline in behavioral problems and an increase in an overall positive school climate.

About Character Education: Character education is an approach to school culture and climate improvement that supports the social, emotional and ethical development of students. It is the proactive and intentional effort by schools, districts, communities and states to help students develop important core ethical (recognizing what’s right) and performance (doing what’s right) values such as caring, honesty, diligence, fairness, fortitude, responsibility, grit, creativity, critical thinking and respect for self and others.