New Jersey Schools of Character Program




Project Description:

Through a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, the Character Education Partnership (CEP) has expanded its award program to include State Schools of Character(SSOC). Twenty-seven states, including New Jersey, are now conducting SSOC competitions as a preliminary step to advancing to the National Schools of Character (NSOC) awards.

How does the State Schools of Character process work?
The purpose of this tiered approach is to allow more schools and districts to be recognized and to provide exemplary sites within states to serve as models for other educators. Modeled after the NSOC awards program sponsored by CEP, the Center for Social and Character Development at Rutgers University (CSCD @ RU) and New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) have created the New Jersey Schools of Character awards program (NJSOC).

The NJSOC program recognizes schools or districts that excel in exemplifying CEP's Eleven Principles of Effective Character Education® and demonstrate an outstanding character education initiative that yields positive results in student behavior, school climate, and academic performance. Selected NJSOC winners may advance to the national level competition.

Who coordinates the New Jersey Schools of Character program?
Throughout the 2009-2010 school year, the Center for Social and Character Development (CSCD) has been working with the New Jersey Alliance for Social Emotional Character Development (NJASECD) so that they may be prepared to take over the New Jersey Schools of Character Award Program in 2011. While CSCD will continue to provide support to New Jersey School of Character 2010 participants until November 2010, NJASECD will take on the coordinating role for the 2011 NJSOC program as of August 1, 2010.

For more information, you may contact CSCD at 732.445.7504. As of August 1, you may contact NJASECD at 856-582-700, Ext. 156.

How do I learn more?
Click here to learn about new changes to the NSOC/SSOC program

Click here
to learn more about the 2011 National and State Schools of Character program

Click here for new 2011 NSOC/SSOC application guidelines and downloadable support materials.



To learn more about previous NJSOC programs and participants, click on any of the links below:

  • Download the 2010 New Jersey Schools of Character Award Program Booklet (including program descriptions) here

  • Download the 2009 New Jersey Schools of Character Award  Program Booklet (including program descriptions) here

  • For program descriptions of the 2010 NJSOC Award recipients, click here

  • For program descriptions of the 2009 NJSOC Award recipients, click here

Named as CEP's first state affiliate site in July 2005, the Center for Social and Character Development at Rutgers University (formerly known as NJCCE) piloted the first State Schools of Character award program in 2006. Each year the NJSOC process involves a two-tiered evaluation process before applications can advance to the national level. All applications are first reviewed by an initial panel of individuals knowledgeable in the field of character education. The second evaluation is conducted by a Blue-Ribbon Panel of experts to determine the winners of the NJSOC and those who proceed to the National Schools of Character competition.