Character Counts!

The Normal Heights Character Pledge
Today is a new day.
I will improve myself.
There are no limits to my personal success
I will! I can! I must!

Normal Heights Counseling Program actively supports CHARACTER COUNTS! and the Six Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. Our School Counselor, Mrs. Florence Alabanza-de la Cruz has been trained and has been implementing the Character Counts Program in SDUSD since 2006.
The six pillars are the foundation for showing good character from the time a student rides a school bus, to learning in a classroom, eating lunch, and interacting with others. The six pillars of character have become part of the language among students and staff, and students are encouraged and recognized for showing good character. We have posted banners throughout our campuses that display pictures of our NHE students with each Character Count Pillar. The CHARACTER COUNTS! framework is not only visible through displays, but more importantly, it is evident in how students and staff respect each other every day. Showing good character supports a positive school climate and safe, caring learning environment.

Every Friday at 3:15pm our students are excited to hear, which of their fellow classmates is being acknowledged for their HELPFUL and GOOD choices. The Character Catch Winners for each grade level are announced throughout our school PA system and our winners are rewarded with a prize of their choosing from the Character Catch Store.

Each month our School Counselor, Mrs. Florence Alabanza-de la Cruz, comes into the classrooms and provides a Guidance Lesson on the Character Count trait of the month. Also, each month classrooms nominate a fellow classmate who represents/models that specific trait of the month and is acknowledged at our Monthly Character Catch Assembly, rewarding our NHE students for their good choices.

                       Character Counts 

August-September - Trustworthy

October - Respect

November & December - Responsibility

January & February - Fairness

March - Respect

April & May - Caring

June & July - Citizenship

Always tell the truth * Admit your mistakes * Do your own work * Be reliable - do what you say you'll do * Have the courage to do the right thing * Build a good reputation * Be loyal - stand by your family, friends, and country
Use only kind words and action * Keep hands, feet and objects to yourself * Obey all adults * Follow the Golden Rule * Be tolerant of difference * Be considerate of the feelings of others * Don't threaten, hit or hurt anyone * Deal peacefully with anger, insults, and disagreements

Always do your best * Use self control; be self-disciplined * Think before you act - consider the consequences * Be accountable for your choices * Stay in assigned areas * Be prepared * Be on time

Play by the rules * Take turns and share * Be open-minded; listen to others * Don't blame others carelessly

Be kind * Be compassionate and show you care * Express gratitude * Forgive others * Help people in need

Do your share to make your school and community better * Cooperate * Obey laws and rules * Respect authority * Protect the environment

Helpful Tips for Parents

Below are helpful tips for parents to help children learn to be trustworthy, respectful, responsible, fair, caring, and a good citizen from Parents, Kids and Character: 21 Strategies to Help Your Children Develop Character, by Dr. Helen R. LeGette

  • Be clear about your values. Tell your children where you stand on important
    issues. Good character is taught and caught. If we want children to
    internalize the virtues that we value, we need to teach them what we
    believe and why. In the daily living of our lives, there are countless
    opportunities to engage children in moral conversation.
  • Refuse to cover for your children or make excuses for their inappropriate behavior. Shielding children and youth from the logical consequences of their actions fails to teach them personal responsibility. It also undermines social customs and laws by giving them the impression that they are somehow exempt from the regulations that govern others' behavior.
  • Show respect for your spouse, your children, and other family members. Parents who honor each other, who share responsibilities, and resolve differences in peaceful ways communicate a powerful message of respect. Respect begets respect...and children notice.
  • Don't provide your children access to alcohol or drugs. Model appropriate behavior. Nowhere is the parents' personal example more critical than in this area, and the family is the most powerful influence on whether or not a young person will become a substance abuser.

Show Me Character in July/August Hawks- Sportsmanship Character Connection

The crack of the bat, the splash of the water and the swoosh of the soccer ball; all sounds of exciting sports events. You may also hear the yelling of the coach, the jeers of the crowd and the name calling by athletes. The news of a sporting event turned violent or athletes doing whatever it takes to win are common. And, because "character does count," it is important for all of us to constantly encourage sportsmanship instead of gamesmanship.

Gamesmanship means doing whatever it takes to win including encouraging athletes to bend, evade or break the rules to gain a competitive advantage. You may have heard, "It's only cheating if you get caught," indicating there is no ethical reason for following the rules. Sadly, there are many examples from professional sports that show gamesmanship - the infamous corked bat or winning the Soccer World Cup with an illegal move.

The good news is there are also wonderful examples of athletes who encourage sportsmanship - making the way one plays the game central. For example the Illinois high school quarterback who asked to have his name stricken from the record book when he discovered both coaches had agreed to let him successfully pass the football for the state record. Because he did not make the passes on his own merit, he did not want the recognition. Or Luz Long, the German athlete who shared his secret with Jesse Owens on how not to foul on the long jump line. Owens went on to win the Gold Medal and Long the Silver in the 1936 Olympics. Sportsmanship means giving 100% to the game with the commitment to integrity, fair play, respectfulness and grace.

It is the responsibility of everyone - staff, parents and children - to encourage sportsmanship and good character.

A Little Summer Reading
Summer is a great time for your child to read just for fun. Help your child pick books that emphasize character, and set goals for them to help them improve their reading skills. Increase the reading level, the number of books, the topics, etc. Help your child discover the wonderful worlds inside their local library.

Everyday we are faced with many decisions. Most are relatively easy, but there are others that are more critical and take more thought. While all choices reflect who we are, those critical decisions can really test our character. Hard choices aren't just reserved for adults. Our children also are faced with difficult decisions. It's our job to help them think about how to make decisions that reflect good character. We must help them understand that making the right decision is not necessarily the popular decision. Making the right decision can cost us in terms of friendship, prestige, pleasure or money. Making good choices is hard work and takes courage.

One way to think about the choices is to ask these five questions:

Is there possible danger of physical harm to you or anyone else?

Could you or someone else suffer serious emotional pain?

Could the decision hurt your reputation?

Could the decision impede achieving any important goal?

Could you or someone else suffer significant monetary or property loss?


Help your child make good choices. Talk to them about decisions they make in their lives. Consider these examples:

Not completing and turning in a homework assignment.

Copying a paper directly from the Internet.

Encouraging friends to not use playground equipment properly - jumping off equipment, etc.

Encouraging your friends not to play with the new student because you decide you don't like them.

Good sportsmanship is important on and off the field. Help your youth remember to be good sports in the game of life.

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