Character On Track is a nonprofit agency providing a character education framework for youth in schools and communities in Southeast South Dakota and Northwest Iowa. The foundation of the organization is based on the Five Marks of Character: Trustworthiness, Respect, Accountability, Citizenship and Kindness.
The organization forms partnerships with public and private school districts, to deliver a consistent message which is delivered through a variety of activities, lessons, media, online resources and school and classroom presentations.
Our focus is to infuse character education and resources throughout the school and the community so that it may become the common language and serve as a way of living. We are unique in that we utilize High School Champions connected with each local elementary and middle school to serve as role models and deliver our message to the younger students. This is seen as a very effective way to bridge the gap between ideal and reality with students, as they learn a little about the about the older students and how they embody the values they are trying to pass on and explore. They can see it first hand through the senior Champions experiences and the way they conduct themselves, that the good character values they hold are relevant to their own lives.
Effective character education involves creating the kinds of classroom and school environments that enable all students, without exception, realize their potential to become intellectually reflective, caring and ethical people engaged in a meaningful life.
Character on Track was originally known as Sioux Empire Character Counts. It started in the late 1990’s and was part of a larger group covering most of the state. The local board of directors saw the need for a better program and delivery system that was unique to this area, and in 2015 launched Character on Track. By utilizing high school seniors as ambassadors of good character to their local elementary and middle schools, a meaningful message can be given. Because it is done by their local role models, the message carries a weight with it that cannot be duplicated by adults, or any other programming. Putting a customized local poster featuring the Champions in every school helps to reinforce what is a positive communication and an ongoing way to engage young students and inspire them to be a person of character.
Character on Track exists to provide vision, leadership and resources for the greater community to promote and develop meaningful character traits that foster good decision making. The program is based on Five Marks of Character: Trustworthiness, Respect, Accountability, Citizenship and Kindness.
Not everyone is born with the qualities that make up our character. It must be taught at home and at school. We believe that if we can focus on our youth and help students understand, care about and consistently practice the character strengths and core values, they can have the resilience to be strong and flourish in school, in relationships, in the workplace, and as citizens. We are committed to inspiring youth to become their best possible selves by consistently practicing, improving and modeling the Five Marks of Character strengths.
What better way to inspire young students to be a person of character than to give them great role models to look up to. The local “Champions on Track” in every school are seniors selected by their administration for this role, to be a positive influence on their younger peers. These Champions deliver a message to engage and inspire students to improve their character by striving to build positive traits in themselves that will become a significant part of their lives.
Our new topic of discussion for 2022-23 that our Champions of Character will be “Belonging” and “Inclusion” (the need to” fit in” and how we interact with those around us when faced with challenges)
If you’d like to know how to bring Character On Track into your community, company or school’s character education programs, contact us. Volunteer opportunities are available as a board member or as an assistant at special events. Your financial gifts are a wonderful investment that will last for years as we work with schools and community organizations. If you believe in the value of character education, please tell everyone you know about Character On Track, and consider making a donation.
Be reliable • Be consistent with your words and actions • Keep promises • Resolve problems with others • Be loyal to others • Be fair in making decisions • Listen and embrace other points of view
Accept differences in others • Treat everyone with the Golden Rule” • Use good manners and demonstrate gratitude • Never hurt anyone with words or actions • Include others and help them belong
Be responsible for your choices • Develop a sense of self control • Plan, set goals and give your full effort • Use your talents and abilities • Maintain a positive and optimistic attitude • Make life more fair for others
Do things to make your school or community a better place • Obey laws and rules • Respect authority • Stay informed on important issues • Protect and improve our environment
Care about the well being of others • Be compassionate and caring toward others • Use every opportunity to bring out the best in others • Be charitable with time and money to help others • Be grateful for what you have • Resolve conflicts and forgive self and others • Treat others fairly