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May 24, 2017

Montville Township Public Schools recognized for five outstanding character education initiatives in three schools and across the entire district 

HildaleMontville recognized among hundreds of effective strategies that develop good character in young people, both nationally and internationally.

May 24, 2017, Washington, DC – Character.org has awarded 300 Promising Practices to schools, districts and youth-serving organizations from across the United States – as well as from China and Mexico.

"At Character.org, we are extremely proud of this year’s Promising Practices recipients. Their dedication to character development has proven over time to increase the well-being of so many students, their families and their communities across the United States and beyond," said Doug Karr, Character.org’s President & CEO. He continued, "Validating character initiatives is at the core of what we do because it creates fertile conditions for multi-generational character growth where students and those in their lives thrive as ethical members of our society. The educators who have developed these Promising Practices are helping their students develop lifelong skillsets that they will leverage well into their adult lives.”

Around the globe and across the nation, this year’s winning practices include unique peer mediation programs, creative ways to integrate character and academic subjects, effective strategies for developing student leadership and service learning activities that build community within the school and beyond.

In the DISTRICTS category, Montville Township Public Schools was recognized for OneMontville, a community-based organization led by business owners, clergy, faculty, residents, students, parents, politicians and other members of the Montville Township community. Launched in 2015 by district Superintendent Dr. René Rovtar, the mission of OneMontville is: “to create and promote a climate of acceptance, inclusion and kindness which teaches and celebrates respect for one another by embracing and being enriched by the diversity that comprises the Montville Township Community. The mission can only be fully accomplished through the involvement and commitment of community leaders, religious leaders, business leaders, and residents of all ages, races, religions, ethnicities, abilities, gender identity or sexual orientation.”

OneMontville is a separate non-profit that works in cooperation with the Montville Township Public Schools and other organizations throughout the Montville Township community including places of worship, youth organizations, and community programs.

Now in its second year, OneMontville celebrated its 2nd Annual OneMontville Green In Day on Friday, May 19, 2017. All residents of Montville Township, New Jersey, were encouraged to wear green in support of #AcceptanceKindnessRespect. On May 19, Montville schools and businesses were a sea of green attire, including OneMontville Green In Day T-shirts.

Also this year OneMontville launched a highly celebrated Day of Respect and Service for Martin Luther King Day on Monday, January 21, which was attended by more than 160 adults and children. The day was spent in service of others. Participants walked in a parade wearing green, toured area places of worship, donated to the Montville Kiwanis Food Pantry and supported The Homeless Bus, as a show of #AcceptanceKindnessRespect for all Montville Township residents. It was also supported by local businesses.

The creation of OneMontville also paved the way for the Montville Township High School Culture Club, a student-led initiative that organizes events promoting #AcceptanceKindnessRespect within the school and across the community.

In addition, on Sunday, May 21, OneMontville co-hosted No Place For Hate, the first in what is planned to become a series of presentations by individuals who have survived hate, discrimination and bullying. The May 21 event was held at the Pine Brook Jewish Center in Montville and featured Arno Michaelis and Daryl Davis. Michaelis, author of My Life After Hate, is the former founder and leader of the world’s largest White Power Skinhead organization. Michaelis once seethed with racial hostility, he now talks about forgiveness and how he has turned his life around. Davis, an African American who met with members of the KKK and neo-Nazis to ask them how they can hate him if they do not even know him, wrote Klan-Destine Relationships.  The book details his unique and successful method of defecting White Supremacists by befriending them.

Both speakers have also addressed Montville Township Public Schools’ students at another of the district’s 2017 Promising Practices recognized initiatives: Living Lessons at the Robert R. Lazar Middle School in Montville Township, NJ.

Living Lessons is one of two 2017 Promising Practice programs at Robert R. Lazar Middle School recognized by Character.org in the SCHOOLS category. The other program recognized this year for the Montville Township Public Schools’ middle school is Fun First Friday.

Held every other year for the past 14 years, Living Lessons is a day of 50 speakers, who have survived great challenges, speaking with 6, 7 and 8 grade students about character, compassion, courage and kindness. Human trafficking, slavery, civil war, the Holocaust, physical disabilities, mass shootings, suicide, and many other circumstances are among the topics shared by the speakers with the Robert R. Lazar Middle Schools students.

First Fun Friday at Robert R. Lazar Middle School is also is a monthly opportunity for students to celebrate core values, mental and physical health and character. Students create activities and celebrations throughout the year, including food drives, fundraisers for heart healthy living, and support and excitement for the Montville Township community’s 150th Anniversary.

Living Lessons and Fun First Friday  are Lazar’s fourteenth and fifteenth Promising Practices awards since 2005

Also in the SCHOOLS category, Valley View Elementary School, in Montville, and Cedar Hill Elementary School, in the Towaco area of Montville Township, each received a Character.org 2017 Promising Practice. Valley View’s Embracing Diversity was recognized. The initiative, a student-driven program where students work with faculty to create videos designed to motivate the student body to think and act respectfully, and to foster civility and acceptance of all members of the school community, was recognized.

Cedar Hill Elementary added to its impressive list of Character.org recognitions with a 2017 Promising Practice for Tools for Schools Kids Environmental Committee. In Cedar Hill, emphasis is placed on children and adults as caretakers of the Earth. Students are empowered through Tools for Schools Kids Environmental Committee to identify areas of environmental care and initiatives they would like to embrace, develop and promote. The students have petitioned the New Jersey State Assembly regarding emissions laws, adopted elephants and other endangered animals, recycled water and trash in the school lunch room, planted trees, created gardens, and promoted many other programs throughout the school, community and world. The Tools for Schools Kids Environmental Committee 2017 Promising Practice marks the third National Promising Practice recognition from Character.org for Cedar Hill Elementary. In 2016 they also received a National Promising Practice for Diversity and they were named a National School of Character. Character.org has also recognized Cedar Hill Elementary on a state level for their work in Ghana in 2014, The Kindness Café in 2016 and as a NJ School of Character in 2016.

For a complete list of national and international Promising Practices winners: See the list of winning Practices.

Character.org’s 2017 Promising Practices in Character Education represent:

  • 2 nations outside the U.S.
  • 22 U.S. states and Washington DC – with the largest numbers from New Jersey, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Florida and Oklahoma.
  • 284 public, charter and private schools as well as 7 youth-serving organizations and 8 school districts.

Character.org sponsors the annual program to showcase innovative best practices that are

having an impact across the nation and abroad. Character.org encourages educators with similar needs to learn from and even replicate these successful initiatives. Character.org will honor the

2017 recipients at the National Forum on Character Education in Arlington, VA October 20-21,


About Character Education: Character education is an approach to school culture and climate improvement that supports the social, emotional and ethical development of students. It is the proactive and intentional 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.

About Promising Practices: The Promising Practices program highlights what’s going well in classrooms across America and the world. The program is simple in scope and recognizes many wonderful ideas from passionate teachers who are making a real difference in the lives of their students. Each Practice must be tied to one or more of Character.org’s 11 Principles of Character Education.

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