The Character Education Partnership, a non-profit based out of Washington, D.C., has recognized the Neosho R-5 School District for three Promising Practices under the National Schools of Character program.

The annual Senior Citizens Appreciation Banquet, Eyes Wide Open: Know What Your Kids Know, and the Jefferson Street Campus’ Reading Rocks program, have all been named Promising Practices for 2012.

The Neosho R-5 School District was one of 585 applicants from across the United States, Mexico, Canada, Hong Kong, and Brazil whose programs were considered by the organization.

Of the 585 applicants, 297 programs were selected, with Neosho accounting for three of those.

“I think it keeps the focus in the district on all the positive things that we’re doing,” said Superintendent Alma Stipp. “You can get bogged down in the negative, but these are the good things  that happen every day.”

She said the benefits of a character program in Neosho schools have been evident.
“You go into a school now and you have kids that hold the door for you, if they walk in front of you they say ‘excuse me,’” Stipp said.

Stipp said the Neosho R-5 School District has had programs recognized at least five times by the Character Education Partnership.

According to their website, The Character Education Partnership’s Promising Practices recognizes educators who have implemented “unique, specific, and effective character education strategies.”

The schools whose programs are selected are invited to attend the Character Education Partnership’s National Forum, held this year Nov. 1-3 in Washington, D.C.
Wendy Linton, Neosho High School sophomore counselor, and Dr. Doretta Fox, Neosho Middle School principal, represented Neosho at the event.

“It was a real honor,” Linton said of the Promising Practices recognition. “It shows that working together makes a real difference. It all comes back to having strong leadership.”

One of the programs Neosho was recognized for is the Eyes Wide Open event, which will be held in December this year, Linton said. 

The event is designed to educate parents on the issues facing their students. Last year, the event focused on social issues, including teen suicide prevention, Internet safety and partying, drugs and underage drinking.

The school district brought in experts to speak to parents on the featured topics, and approximately 50 parents attended the event.

Linton said the event provides a way for the schools and parents to team up to benefit students.

“It’s a coordinated effort within our schools to address a problem,” Linton said.

The district was also recognized for their annual Senior Citizens Banquet, to be held this Friday.

The banquet draws approximately 1,000 seniors each year and is a district-wide coordinated event. Students provide entertainment, welcome attendees and help serve the food.

The Neosho R-5 School District was also recognized for the Reading Rocks program at the Jefferson Street Campus, formerly known as the Southwest Alternative School. The program is a service-learning project, where students choose children’s books, practice reading, prepare classrooms, decorate the areas according to the theme of the book and then perform. 

The event is done once per quarter and elementary students, usually second graders, are invited from a different grade school each time.

Stipp said the district’s focus on character programs is helping to prepare Neosho’s students for the future.

“The character program is foundational to our whole community,” Stipp said. “If our kids have good character, they’re going to grow up to be good citizens. They’ll be responsible, they’ll be respectful, they’ll have self-control and they’ll make good choices.”