Character development, says Washington County Attorney’s office, will improve public safety and keep kids in school.
Teachers and administrators from seven school districts that serve Washington County students are being asked to join a free character development training program in Stillwater on Wednesday.
The training will introduce educators to the Medal of Honor Character Development Program, a teaching resource that uses the stories of Medal of Honor recipients to teach character to students, said County Attorney Pete Orput.
“This is a powerful curriculum which is being used across the country,” Orput said. “We are fortunate to have the first training ever offered in Minnesota taking place in Washington County. Our hope is that if our students learn about thinking of others before themselves and make choices based upon the values of courage, commitment, sacrifice, patriotism, integrity and citizenship, this will lead to stronger and safer communities.”
Lesson plans supplied in training neither glorify nor glamorize war, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. The “living histories” and accompanying instructional materials encourage students to consider courage from their own perspectives, the foundation said.
Sue Harris, the assistant county attorney assigned to truancy, said the foundation pays for training and also reimburses teachers who hire substitutes while they attend the workshop. About 50 teachers had enrolled by Thursday, she said.
The County Attorney’s office got involved because of Orput’s strong belief in encouraging students to remain in school, Harris said.
“I think that it can’t hurt in terms of reducing the amount of kids that we see involved in delinquency court,” she said of the program. “We all benefit when our kids have some education in character development. These should be the heroes that our kids hear about.”
Hal Fritz, president of the Medal of Honor Society and a recipient of the Medal of Honor, will attend Wednesday’s training, which will be held at the Historic Courthouse at 101 W. Pine St.
Districts invited are Stillwater, South Washington, Forest Lake, Mahtomedi, North St. Paul/Maplewood/Oakdale, White Bear Lake and Hastings.
Orput’s office and Jostens, the company that produces school yearbooks and class rings, are co-sponsoring the training. They’re also partners in efforts to fight truancy in Washington County. Registration for the training is required by selecting the Stillwater button at www.jostens.com/misc/aboutus/events.html.
Registration continues through Monday.
Kevin Giles • 651-925-5037