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West End school expands strength-based learning program after initial success Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy in the West End is expanding its use of a new strength-based learning program after its initial rollout resulted in improved academics and behavior from students. The program CCPA is using is called The Character Effect and encourages social and emotional learning while nurturing children’s individual strengths. “Making an intentional effort to focus on children’s strengths has had a positive impact on our school,” said Ian Frank, assistant superintendent at CCPA. “In addition to better results in academics and behavior, our students have a general sense of happiness and the entire school is more relaxed. It has given us a positive way to look at our weeks, which have rolled into positive months and a positive year.” After seeing excellent results in kindergarten through third grade this year, CCPA will expand use of The Character Effect to grades four through six next year and has plans to eventually bring it to all students in the K-12 school. The Character Effect uses a flexible curriculum to bring together the research of positive psychology and the science of mindfulness. Its framework uses research-informed tools to help students, teachers and parents to collectively develop a common language that supports students. “In education, we talk about research-based methods that we see in colleges or journals, but this is researchbased support from Beech Acres professionals who come in and work with teachers and kids in the classroom,” Frank explained. “It’s tangible support that is having a big effect in our community.” The program is designed to improve

Students at an activity during May for The Character Effect program at CCPA. PROVIDED

student’s self-control, increase their classroom participation, cultivate an atmosphere of respect for others and boost their overall self-acceptance. “The Character Effect helps parents, teachers and students to focus on the same important building blocks of the child’s growth,” said Emily Scharfenberger, director of strategic partnerships

at Beech Acres Parenting Center. “This leads to stronger parent engagement, which is a priority at CCPA and adds to the strength of support kids have in their lives.” One strategy CCPA is using is to focus on a personal “Character of the Week,” such as leadership, and to discuss its meaningfulness and importance in chil-

dren’s lives. Frank said spending time on these ideas helps to build up children’s personal strengths, making them more resilient over time. The Character Effect has been shared by Beech Acres Parenting Center with several schools throughout Greater Cincinnati. Peter Osborne

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Western Hills Press 06/05/19  

Western Hills Press 06/05/19