Jostens is honored to support the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and Foundation, and their mission, by helping create awareness for the Character Development Program. Jostens Sales Representatives assist with scheduling and inviting educators to attend training workshops across the country. Jostens is also proud to provide rings to all Congressional Medal of Honor recipients as a symbol of heroism in honor of the sacrifices of all those who have served and continue to serve around the world.
Where does Character Development fit in an academic calendar already packed with content, challenged by extensive testing, and limited by rules and regulations? We could ask where air fits in our atmosphere. Character is climate! Attitudes of teachers and administrators, but most of all students themselves, determine the climate of a school, and students’ attitudes are determined by their character.
So how do we Improve Character? The Medal of Honor Character Development Program teaches values such as commitment, integrity, sacrifice, and courage to students. Working with Jostens to deliver this programs to teachers who in turn use it in their classrooms, The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation is working to develop students of character through a complete curriculum of lessons and living history vignettes.
Based on Living Histories of those awarded America’s highest medal for valor, the program shows students that each of us can make a difference. Some of these stories are of great military strategists. But most are of ordinary citizens who joined the military, many who were drafted into service for this country. Quite a few were medics, working in terrible conditions to save others. Some were chaplains, tending to the spiritual needs of others. One was a conscientious objector.
Medal of Honor Recipients have added to the program a “Citizen Service before Self” component. Yearly, ordinary citizens who have done extraordinary things, in a moment or over a lifetime, are recognized by the Medal of Honor Society. Their stories are being incorporated into the curriculum, because not all heroes are military. It takes everyone to create a great climate, and we want to recognize that and promote it in every person, especially America’s kids.
Social Emotional Learning, or SEL, is a hot topic in education, and across the country at all levels educators are embracing teaching the whole student, not just the left or right brain. Expecting great academic gains as a result of these efforts is just a start. To truly improve social and emotional aspects of students and student learning, we must be sure school climate provides a socially and emotionally safe atmosphere. With Jostens’ help, the Medal of Honor Character development Program is helping grow better citizens and ultimately patriots. Its curriculum is available online, on DVD’s and in a binder, all free of charge. See cmohedu.org to review the entire curriculum and to sign up to attend an in-person event about how to use the program in your classroom.
Every time a child makes a better decision, at home or on the playground, our communities and our country become better, thanks to improved climate in our schools.
Catherine Ehlers Metcalf
Vice President, Education
Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation