Students Receive National Award for Compassion and Ethics
When students at Cimino Elementary were visited by a guest speaker from a local non-profit organization that serves the homeless, the students knew they wanted to help. Through their leadership, the students researched the problem of homelessness, organized a toy drive and delivered presents to families just before the holidays.
It is this kind of service learning, coupled with character development, that has brought national distinction to Cimino Elementary.
The school, with 850 students, has been named a National School of Character from Character.org (formerly The Character Education Partnership). Cimino Elementary was the first school in Hillsborough County to receive the recognition back in 2012. The staff recently finished an in-depth and rigorous evaluation process and have now been re-certified as a School of Character. Eighty-three schools across the country were designated as 2017 National Schools of Character. Each school receives the honor for a five year period.
The schools are selected based on Character.org’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education, which provides students with opportunities for moral action, fostering shared leadership and engaging families and the community as partners.
Everyone on the campus of Cimino Elementary can tell you about the school’s character traits. For the students and every staff member, having great character and showing leadership is truly a way of life.
“It’s a culture for everyone at Cimino,” said Joanne Griffiths, who was recently named the new principal of Cimino Elementary. “I am so excited to be a part of this school community.”
In the past five years, Cimino has continued to find more ways to approach Character Education within the curriculum and in interactions between students, with faculty, staff, and members of the community. Cimino students take part in classroom lessons and community activities such as: service learning projects, food and toiletry drives, and Relay for Life as part of their character education. The spontaneous moments of great character that happen each and every day are the rewards of Cimino’s efforts to build a school community that has core ethical values at its roots.
Cimino Elementary school counselor Dr. Stephanie Hannett says they continue every day to improve and teach students about becoming great citizens. “We continue to find new ways to foster intrinsic motivation for our students to do what is right, even when no one is watching. It’s what makes Cimino a great school,” explained Dr. Hannett.
Even when students are away from school, community members often remark that they know these students attend Cimino due to their values and their commitment to their community.
Staff from Cimino Elementary will accept their award at a celebration in Arlington, Virginia in October.