Stone receives School of the Year award for character education

Stone receives School of the Year award for character education

Thomas Stone High School was recently named a 2015 School of the Year award recipient by the Maryland Center for Character Education (MCCE) at Stevenson University. Schools are selected for recognition based on their efforts to promote ethical values and a caring school community, fostering students’ self-motivation, and engaging school staff, families and community members to help with character-building efforts.

In place at Stone is Cougar PRIDE which serves as the foundation of the school’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) program that implements character education principles into the school community. Cougar PRIDE is the standard in which the school community conducts activities and focuses on five principal characteristics: prepared, respectful, involved, diligent and eco-friendly. To help promote positive ethical values and good character, the Stone community highlights a different core value monthly to highlight character education. These values include responsibility, respect, gratitude, caring, perseverance, unity, integrity, service and citizenship and are incorporated into schoolwide activities.

Another part of Cougar PRIDE is providing students with opportunities to serve their community. Students often visit nearby elementary and middle schools to talk with and read to students and serve as mentors to younger learners. Last year, Stone students worked together to create a vegetable garden at the school and design a new court yard area. Students and staff also support several community organizations such as Relay for Life with the goal of having a positive impact in the lives of others. Stone hosts a Fall Festival coordinated by students in which the school is decorated with festive items and children can collect candy in a fun environment.

Additionally, Stone launched a Cougar of Courage social media campaign using Twitter to highlight students who are self-motivated, excel in academics and display exceptional character. The campaign featured photos of teachers and the students they nominated for recognition, and helped to encourage other students to model positive behavior. Students also receive Cougar Paw Points for demonstrating good character, which are entered into weekly drawings for prizes.

This is not the first time Stone has been honored by the MCCE for its character education efforts. In 2012, the school received a School of the Year designation and received a School of Character honorable mention award in 2011. In 2010, the MCCE honored Stone with an Emerging School of Character award and in 2009, Stone received the Maryland School of Character award.

Stone will be recognized during an awards program scheduled for Oct. 8 at Stevenson University and will receive a School of the Year banner and certificate of recognition. The Maryland Schools of Character awards program is sponsored collaboratively through the MCCE, the Character Education Partnership and the Maryland State Department of Education. For more information on character education, visit

Charles County Public Schools provides 26,500 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.

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