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Vestavia Hills school system, elementary school among “Promising Practices” recipients

June 2, 2022 — Vestavia Hills City Schools and one of its elementary schools are being recognized nationally for their development of character education., a national organization advocating for character education in schools, announced Wednesday that Vestavia Hills City Schools and Vestavia Hills Elementary Dolly Ridge are the newest recipients of its “Promising Practices” certification.

The Promising Practices program recognizes initiatives that have made a significant impact on the culture of character in schools and school systems. These practices inspire “goodness in action” and help instill positive character traits in students, according to a release from

For Vestavia Hills City Schools and Vestavia Hills Elementary Dolly Ridge, the Promising Practices centered on their work to embed core values in the schools. VHCS has partnered with The Hope Institute at Samford University over the past four years to help bring character education into focus and to support schools in their development of core values.

Core values inspire students to achieve excellence and demonstrate love and respect for one another, according to Antonio Cooper, Ed.D., VHCS director of curriculum and instruction.

“Core values help us to teach those good habits that we want to see in all of our students,” Cooper said. “Those habits make good people who stand up for what they believe, support and serve others, and persevere through difficult times.”

Vestavia Hills schools have received a significant amount of recognition over the past several years for character education. Three schools — Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights, Vestavia Hills Elementary East, and Vestavia Hills Elementary West — achieved National School of Character status in just the past three years. Each of the schools’ character education initiatives received Promising Practices certification prior to being named National Schools of Character.

"Promising Practices is affirming of all the work we’ve done over the first three years at Dolly Ridge to establish expectations for students and build a great school culture. We hope to become a National School of Character in the next couple of years and are grateful for this recognition," Vestavia Hills Elementary Dolly Ridge principal Ty Arendall, Ed.D., said today.