On Monday night Dr. Daniel Lapsley was the featured speaker at the annual Hesbugh lecture series sponsored by the local Alumni Association of Notre Dame. Dr. Laspley is the chair of the psychology department at Notre Dame and one of the nation's foremost scholars in the area of moral and character education.
One of the most interesting points he made was that for moral and character education to work within Catholic schools we don't need canned programs but rather a school culture that promotes student involvement and commitment coupled with a strong sense of community between the adults and students in the building. If the adults provide strong role models but work in collaborative ways with students good things happen. The moral development of students flourishes as well as every other factor in achievement.
It was reinforcing in many ways of some of the changes taking place this year at school. Most notably that of the house system. It isn't necessarily perfect yet in anyway but the goal is building stronger more vibrant communities with students who show high levels of engagement on many fronts.
Listening to Dr. Lapsley reminded me of the following video below from CAPE. It's worth a look.
On another note Dr. Lapsley mentioned some of the good work that charter schools are doing. Granted their are some that do well and some that fail miserably. But some of the key factors in meaningful school reform is creating value centered communities where strong collaboration between students and the adults takes place.