Richmond school counselor receives national character education award

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) —  A Richmond school counselor has been named a 2015 recipient of Character.org’s National and International Promising Practices in Character Education award.

Anne-Shirelle Harris, a school counselor at Bellevue Elementary School, was recognized during the 22nd Annual National Forum of Character Education, held between October 15 and 17 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Bellevue Elementary School was one of 235 schools, districts and youth-serving organizations from across the United States, Canada, China, India, Mexico, Columbia and the U.K. to be recognized for winning character education practices that encourage the ethical, social and academic growth of students in grades K-12.

Harris has served as a professional school counselor for 14 years. She oversees the 100 Black men Read program held each February in recognition of Black History Month. The annual program is designed to foster a love of reading in students and provide a model for character development. Throughout the month, black male volunteers read to students and lead discussions on values exhibited in the books. They also provide practical examples of how those values can be emulated.

“It has been a joy to witness the interactions between the students and the volunteers,” Harris said. “Over the past 11 years I have witnessed the evolution of a program that not only helps students develop a love and appreciation for literature but also gives them a sense of who they are and what they can be.”

Character.org sponsors the annual program to showcase innovative best practices that are having an impact across the nation and abroad. The organization encourages educators with similar needs to learn from and replicate these successful initiatives.

“These great ideas really highlight the creative efforts of outstanding teachers across the world,” said Dr. Dave Keller, program director. “It’s great to recognize what’s going well in the classroom. These practices represent practical, effective ways to develop empathy, conflict resolution skills and good citizenship.”

For more information about the Promising Practices award program, visit character.org.

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