LAUSD Board of Education Unanimously Approves the District-wide Celebration of Character Day on Sept. 22

LOS ANGELES (Aug. 23, 2016) – The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education unanimously declared Thursday, September 22, 2016, as Character Day throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Character Day is a global initiative where groups around the world screen films on the science of character development and dive into free discussion materials.  This year, Character Day is set for Thursday, September 22, 2016, the day where all activities will culminate in a global Google Hangout meeting to connect various participants to others engaged across the world.

Character Day began three years ago by Emmy-nominated filmmaker, speaker, and Webby Awards Founder, Tiffany Shlainf.  This initiative was a call to combat the rise in intolerance and to instill values that are focused on developing people’s character strengths.  Some of these strengths include resilience, empathy, kindness, honesty, justice, and leadership.  All of the films and free materials are rooted in evidence-based research, and they showcase a variety of perspectives.

“I have always been a proponent of ensuring that our schools are places that support the development of the whole child, which includes a child’s physical, mental, social-emotional, and academic health,” said Board Member Dr. Ref Rodriguez who authored the resolution.  “While it is our job as a school district to ensure that our students graduate college- and career-ready, it is also our responsibility that they develop the skills and qualities they need to prepare them to make good judgments and to be contributing members of society.”

Board Member Mónica García urged students to participate in Character Day. “We become stronger when we appreciate and learn from each other’s histories,” she said. “Tolerance and inclusion has been part of our success in Los Angeles and I ask everyone to take part in Character Day.”

To this day, approximately 36,000 groups across 70 countries have signed up to participate in Character Day this year, including 65 school districts, 24 universities, and 70 non-profits.  By signing up on the CharacterDay.org website, LAUSD participants can receive free materials to help teachers and students engage in conversations about the importance of character and how to develop it.

“It is not enough to just teach students about social-emotional learning and character education,” says Isabel Maxwell, leading consultant for Schools Outreach and Partner Development for Character Day.  “Our students need to ignite their imagination as to how to make the world a better place through individual and collective action.  Our connectedness is what will give us hope and inspiration for global wellness.”

The LAUSD board resolution also calls on the Superintendent to encourage LAUSD schools and central office divisions to be part of the global initiative by signing up and by sharing the work LAUSD students and staff create, including photos, videos, and artwork, to be highlighted on the LAUSD’s website.

“We have done district-wide Character Day campaigns that have become embedded in our culture,” said Dr. Lori Vollandt, Social Emotional Learning Wellness and Health Educations Program Coordinator in LAUSD’s Office of Instruction.  “I see this as a perfect way to create awareness and action toward a better world.”

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Contact: Aixle Aman (213) 241-5555

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