Vestavia Hills Elementary West named Alabama State School of Character
January 25, 2021 -- Vestavia Hills Elementary West is being recognized statewide for its emphasis on character education and development.
Character.org, a national organization advocating for character education in schools, named Vestavia Hills Elementary West (VHEW) a 2021 Alabama State School of Character today.
VHEW was one of only three schools, and the only elementary school in Alabama, chosen for the award this year.
Each of the State Schools of Character were chosen based on demonstrated excellence in eleven principles of character education and development. For VHEW, those principles were found in programs such as the “West Way” which emphasizes kindness, respect, and responsibility; involvement of parent advisory teams and character development teams; and numerous initiatives throughout the school to ensure students have positive relationships with their peers.
A press release from Character.org issued today noted “It is evident that Vestavia Hills Elementary West is intentional about creating a culture of character based on the West Way. This school has been successful in its mission.”
VHEW received Character.org’s Promising Practices award in 2020 for its “Connect 5” program which connects students in need of social and emotional support with five staff members in the school. Those employees regularly check in with students and provide encouragement and support, ensuring students feel connected to multiple individuals beyond their classroom teacher. Staff members provide feedback to the school’s counselors to ensure each student receives the attention and assistance they need from professionals.
“We’re honored to receive an award that recognizes what goes on at West every day,” said Kim Hauser, principal of Vestavia Hills Elementary West. “Our motivation to teach character is a cornerstone of the school, and this award is a great way to honor the people here who work so hard to instill those values in our students.”
The school will now be considered for Character.org’s highest distinction, National School of Character. Winners of the national awards will be announced this May.