By Tierra Evans
Thursday, March 31st, Georgetown University and Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy hosted an education forum focused on the importance of character development within the realm of student achievement. The conversation was carried by a distinguished group of panelists including: Tim King, who is founder, President and CEO of Urban Prep Academies, James H. Shelton III, Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement under the Department of Education, Abigail Smith, Chief of Transformation Management Office of DCPS, Irasema Salcido, CEO and founder of the Chavez Schools and driving force behind the DCPNI, and Paul Tough, New York Times Magazine former editor and author of Whatever it Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America.
Mr. Tough gave a keynote speech surrounding the role of certain character traits that are imperative to healthy academic and social growth. Some of the traits included grit, curiosity, gratitude, self-discipline and resilience. He provided scientific studies and evidence as to how and why they are so important. What I remember most is that after that speech, Tim King remarks, “Duhhh…We already know the solutions to education. The problem is, how do we apply them?" I agree. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure that out. In the learning process and in everyday life, it’s important to have good character. However, where does good character come from?? It comes partially through proper relationship building and positive support systems. In essence, one’s character is defined by a set of traits that can be acquired. Together we need to figure out a system that can make that happen.