Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Honor Code 2008-2009

I have added the Honor Code for 2008-2009 to the Useful Dean Links section of the blog. One major change is the name - Honor Code, instead of Code of Conduct. The goal is to make honor an encompassing theme for the students, faculty, parents, and administration at Calvert.

In order to be an all-encompassing theme, the message needs to be clear, concise, and powerful. Students, faculty, and parents should be able to easily refer to a common idea of honor during conversations. This leads to the second major change in the Honor Code for the 2008-2009 school year - the definition of honor for us at Calvert. We ask three things of members of our community:

1. Act as selfless servants.
2. Demonstrate moral courage in every situation.
3. Maintain a commitment to the community.

The dialogue within the walls of Calvert will be based on these three guiding principles. We owe a great deal to Matt Eversmann who spoke to middle school assembly and proposed these three principles as guidelines for living a life of honor.

A third change is the format of the document. The main document is split into two sections: Promoting Honor and Accountability. Following these sections are Helpful Honor Code Documents or appendices, meant to help students with examples, explanations, and general guidelines to meet and exceed expectations of the Honor Code.

The fourth change entails the Point System undergoing some minor changes. First, students begin each quarter with zero points, instead of the 1,000 from last year. This was changed for two reasons: it was unwieldy to maintain data on each student and students' perception of the points' value was skewed by the high numbers. Second, students can now earn or will be deducted the same point amount for referrals or honorable actions. For example, the first infraction of the Honor Code loses a student 10 points, and a noteworthy act of honor will earn a student 10 points. Third, students can go into negative numbers.

We believe this revised Point System better illustrates real life rewards and consequences for a person's actions, yet remains a system within the safe and nurturing environment of the school building. It provides a barometer for students to gauge their behavior.

Lastly, we added a Character Chart. The Character Chart is similar to the Behavior Chart from last year, except it outlines ways students can earn points. I am encouraging all teachers to post both charts in their rooms so students can clearly see what it means to live honorably and what consequences they face should they stray from the principles of the Honor Code.

Overall, I am excited about the revisions and plan to use this document during the many discussions with advisories this year. Our mission statement states, in part, that we "seek to develop students of...strong moral character within a supportive and diverse community." The Honor Code is one mean to that end.

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