In Character Compass, Scott Seider offers portraits of three high-performing urban schools in Boston, Massachusetts that have made character development central to their mission of supporting student success, yet define character in three very different ways.
One school focuses on students’ moral character development, another emphasizes civic character development, and the third prioritizes performance character development. Drawing on surveys, interviews, field notes, and student achievement data, Character Compass highlights the unique effects of these distinct approaches to character development as well as the implications for parents, educators, and policymakers committed to fostering powerful school culture in their own school communities.
Scott Seider, a rising star in the field of education, has crafted an eloquent presentation of the lessons learned from three case studies of character education. Rather than present yet another implementation model, Character Compass highlights the importance of process, context, diversity, and commitment to a vision. This is a unique, intelligent, articulate, and valuable addition to the body of knowledge informing best practices in character education. — Marvin W. Berkowitz, Sanford N. McDonnell Professor of Character Education, University of Missouri–St. Louis
In this timely and solidly researched book, Scott Seider offers a vivid account of how three Boston-area charter schools cultivate character in their students. Seider carefully examines the distinct ways that the schools foster moral, behavioral, and civic dimensions of character, making the case throughout that a school’s efforts to foster character do not come at the expense of academic achievement—rather, they enhance it. This book will be an important read for educators, policy makers, and citizens who care about the full character development of the young. — William Damon, professor of education and director of the Center on Adolescence, Stanford University
Character Compass challenges me to reflect on our school’s curriculum, programming, practices, and messages. In what ways are we influencing our students’ character development, and in what ways are we missing opportunities to explicitly define and reinforce attitudes, beliefs, and actions that will positively shape their character? — Peggy Kemp, headmaster, Fenway High School, Boston
If you are interested in character education across a district, within a school, or in a single classroom, Character Compass is for you. Seider not only offers a strong theoretical framework to help guide big-picture decision making, he also provides rich, nuanced descriptions of how the character programs actually play out in schools. I can’t wait to share these portraits with my graduate students. — Brent Maddin, provost and professor, Relay Graduate School of Education