Two Independence schools win state character award

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- These students are making sure the state knows they have character.

"We teach all the traits in all the classes all the time," said English teacher Tim Dial.

Respect, responsibility, and integrity are just some of values being taught in the Independence School District.

William Chrisman High School and Christian Ott Elementary School were both given the State School of Character award from the Character Education Partnership in St. Louis.

"We were able to tell them, show them on paper and then through the site visit -- hey, our kids are great here," Dial told FOX 4 News.

Only 45 schools in the country received the award.  Fifteen of them are Missouri schools and two of those are in the Independence School District.

"We are really leading the way over here on this side and we are very honored to one of the first schools in the Kansas City area to get this award," Dial said.

The halls at both Chrisman and Ott are full of signs, posters and messages of character.

"It is not something that is added onto our curriculum, but it is integrated into all the things  we do, wither it's reading or writing or interacting with others," said Dr. Ronnee Laughlin, Ott Elementary principal.

All schools in the district celebrate a different trait each month.  This month it's cooperation.

At Ott Elementary, the students are sharing how they demonstrate the trait.

"They are caring, respectful and responsible learners  and citizens.  We want them to treat each other that way not only in school, but outside of school as well," Dr. Laughlin said.

Both schools will find out in March if they are finalists for the National Character Plus award.

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