Valley Stream North and South high schools have been recognized as 2016 New York State Schools of Character in the Academy for Character Education at the Sage Colleges’ Stand Up for Character program. They were selected by the State Schools of Character Review Committee and Blue Ribbon Panel based on their applications and portfolios, and are now eligible for national-level honors from Character.org.

Both buildings emphasize character education through a variety of avenues – one being the districtwide BRAVE program, which inspires students to “Believe in the Rights and Values of Everyone.” This mission is infused into lessons and activities throughout the school year.

North encourages positive qualities with initiatives such as Physical Education Leaders class, which trains students as peer wellness educators, and the “Beautiful Me” self-esteem building program that was implemented for teen girls through the Hance Family Foundation. Clubs such as SADD and STOP encompass character building purposes as well. Character education is also carried through lessons taught in the classrooms each day.
“I am honored to be a part of such a dedicated team of professionals,” said North High School Principal James Bolen. “We all help to educate the entire student, and recognition such as this is one we all can take part in.”

South adheres to their motto, “Small acts of kindness make a big difference,” with the support of a Character Action Team and a School Culture Committee, and participates in an annual Service Week, a UNITY (Uniting Neighbors, Individuals Together Year-round) Week and school charity efforts. “Make a Difference” awards acknowledge students who demonstrate good character, and a great deal of collaboration exists between the mainstream and life skills populations. Principal Maureen Henry noted that South highlights the “Falcon Five Core Values” known as CARES, an acronym for Character, Accountability, Respect, Excellence and Service.

As honorees, North and South high schools will be commended at a banquet in April.