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Rossman School interweaves character education throughout its program and community. We believe that children must first possess a strong character before they can begin to gain other forms of knowledge and wisdom. Rossman provides a safe learning community where students learn the core values of kindness, honesty, respect, and responsibility in a variety of social and academic contexts including:
- academic lessons
- the Rossman School Family Program
- the Sixth Grade Advisory Program
- class meetings, discussions and advisories
- service learning opportunities
- student leadership roles and democratic processes
- daily interactions within the school community
- the positive role modeling of faculty, staff and administration
Rossman School’s approach to character education extends from the following beliefs:
- We love and respect our students.
- We build strong relationships with children so that they are willing to ask for guidance and prepared to accept our advice.
- We teach the four Rossman Rules most effectively when we model them ourselves.
- We hold high expectations for our students and ourselves, providing adequate support to achieve these high expectations.
- We help children to set goals and teach them strategies to achieve success.
- We encourage students to always strive for their personal best.
- We nurture students through their mistakes.
- We help students understand friendship and teach them how to be good friends.
- We help students to work with and appreciate others.
- We teach students conflict resolution skills and allow them the freedom to practice these skills in the school environment.
- We believe discipline is a learning process.
- We use rules and natural consequences to develop reasoning and respect for others.
- We believe that consequences should help children understand their mistakes and learn how to make appropriate choices in the future.
- We offer students a voice in the school and in the classroom.
- We encourage all of our students to be leaders and offer them sufficient opportunities to lead and model for their peers.
- We teach about character in meaningful contexts through reading, writing, and research.
- We offer students opportunities for community service where they can actively help others.
- We involve parents as partners in building our students’ character.
- We offer parents support and educational opportunities to help them be stronger parents and to develop stronger relationships with their children.
- We communicate frequently and effectively with parents regarding issues of character development.
Rossman School’s Family Program provides a forum for character development and community building. Each student becomes a member of a Rossman family when they enroll and remain a part of that family until they graduate. Led by a teacher or administrator, families include a child from each grade level. Once a month, families gather to participate in a group activity and/or discussion, typically focusing on a specific character trait. Through the Family Program, students develop relationships with children across grade levels and an adult with whom they may not otherwise have regular contact.
Sixth grade advisory groups, each made up of five or six students and a faculty advisor, meet weekly for half an hour. These small groups encourage communication and leadership and give students the opportunity to talk and be heard in a small group. The advisors serve as advocates or mentors for their students. Discussions, games, written reflections, cooperative challenges, and celebrations are some of the tools used to promote student thinking and involvement in important topics like respecting yourself, our community and the world. Together students learn to recognize and honor peers in a group, even when they disagree, and develop the courage to stand apart from the group when they know it is the right thing to do.