Character Education

What is Character Education?

Character education is an educational movement that supports the social, emotional and ethical development of students. It is the proactive effort by schools, districts, communities and states to help students develop important core ethical (recognizing what's right) and performance (doing what's right) values such as caring, honesty, diligence, fairness, fortitude, responsibility, grit, creativity, critical thinking, and respect for self and others. Character education provides long-term solutions to moral, ethical, and academic issues that are of growing concern in our society and our schools. Through character education, students learn how to be their best selves and how to do their best work while making school a place where students and educators feel comfortable and able to work. Character education has always been an essential part of our schools' mission. In fact, since the founding of our nation's public schools, character development was always an integral part of schooling along with academics. Today's character education movement is a re-emergence of that important mission. (From Character Education Partnership)

Lions Quest K-12 programs are recognized by Character Education Partnership (CEP), a leading non-partisan coalition of groups dedicated to character and civic education, as "scientifically supported programs that can improve school climates and positively impact the development and learning of students." Marvin Berkowitz and Melinda Bier, experts in the field of character education, have identified character education programs that enhance academic achievement. Research has found a relationship between comprehensive character education and improved scholastic success. Several have said, "Well-conceived programs of character education can and should exist side-by-side with strong academic programs."

The Lions Quest approach to Character Education

The Character Education Partnership has developed 11 guidelines for effective character education, including promotion of ethical values; opportunities for civic action; cultivation of thinking, feeling, and behaviors of an ethical life; SEL-rich curriculum; schoolwide implementation , family and community engagement, sustainable school-community support, and assessment of progress.

Lions Quest programs reflect these best practices in Character Education through:

  • Sequential and flexible K-12 curriculum that explicitly connects social and emotional competencies to character traits and values for civic action
  • Developmentally appropriate lessons that explicitly emphasize civic values through teaching higher order thinking, expression and management of feelings, and behaviors for responsible decision making and civic action
  • Highly interactive, student-centered instructional design that fosters inquiry, higher-order thinking, cooperation, practice, and reflection on personal and social responsibility
  • Interdisciplinary learning experiences that teach, model, and reinforce civic values accompanied by social and emotional competencies across subject areas
  • Establishment of a caring classroom and school community necessary to establish norms of strong character supported by civic values of fairness, respect, and cooperation
  • Parent and caregiver materials to reinforce civic values and responsible decision making
  • Service-learning and civic engagement opportunities threaded throughout the program
  • Home-school-community partnership support with Lions Club members for sustainability
  • Ongoing professional learning to support high quality teaching and implementation
  • Evaluation studies that demonstrate evidence of effectiveness


In Memphis, TN, Lions Quest Skills for Action supports STAR Tutors who work with elementary youth to improve literacy.

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