With the increasing world of technology and people are becoming more obsessed with themselves, it is becoming increasingly more important to be nice and for people to make connections with other people. That is exactly what Camas High School’s new program, CharacterStrong, is aimed to do.
When describing the CharacterStrong program, Darci Jones, a special education teacher, says, “It’s a way to approach and reframe the way school culture and school community can happen in a way that everyone feels like they’re a part of it. It kind of redefines school spirit and gets you out there connecting with your peers and the staff.”
This year they started introducing the curricula to teachers. Every week CHS counselor Kirin Casteel and Jones send out a ‘Character Dare.’ This dare can range from giving each of your students a high five to say hi to a staff member that you don’t know. Next year the counselors and some of the administrators are planning to give five lessons to Sophomores and Juniors. After those five lessons, they are going to get feedback from students and teacher and go from there. However, this plan is not set in stone yet they are still trying to decide the best way to go about introducing this program.
Last summer, Jones went to a CharacterStrong training session and thought to herself ‘this is such a good idea we should implement in Camas.’ Casteel was new to CHS and at her old school, she did it and he couldn’t give enough kind reviews. In addition to Casteel and
Jones, administrator Tim Fox had gone to the training a couple of times and suggested they start out this year by doing ‘Character Dares.’
The goal is to build character and relationships.
Teacher Joseph Farland says “So much of the time we are like education, education, education but we also need to focus on what type of person we are letting go out into the world and what they are doing for the world.” Farland then when on to say how that the student that do the little things like put up chairs and hold the door open without being asked are what students should strive to. To be the person who does something needed without being asked.
Casteel loves this program because it gives students and teacher a better relationship. The better of a relationship that students and teachers have then the better the students succeeds. Having kids feel comfortable and safe so that learning can happen.
Casteel says “I hope that [students and teachers] would be open to it and to being vulnerable to have difficult conversations and doing the challenges because it’s uncomfortable and it’s scary sometimes”