Milwaukee Biz Blog: Award winning schools

Hiring based solely on a graduate’s grade point average (GPA) does not ensure a creative, causative employee. When interviewing candidates, businesses should spend as much time learning about an applicant’s character as well as grades.

Some of Wisconsin schools are doing their best to provide a future workforce that is both smart and character driven. Two successful schools in 2017 are Greenwood Elementary in River Falls, which has been designated both a State (SSOC) and National (NSOC) School of Character; Edgewood Elementary School in Greenfield has been deemed a SSOC. Other recent year designees are Catholic Memorial, Columbus Elementary, Capitol West Academy and Woodlands School (Bluemound).

Human Resource departments should start recruiting immediately.

Unfortunately, adults in the lives of children are not the best examples of character driven people. Asking children to show the way is a lot to put on little shoulders in elementary school. However, the dedicated staff and teachers in cooperation with parents and children are purposefully creating communities in agreement and action about behavior, especially cooperation with and respect for one another. They do this by following the Eleven Principles of National Schools of Character. Individual schools adapt the Principles for their specific situations. The results are astonishing. They include but are not limited to: less bullying, helpful atmosphere, fewer trips to principal’s office, joyful classroom experiences ensuring that everyone will be lifelong learners.

Surely, no CEO ever would say, “I do not want employees who treat others kindly and helpfully, who come to work with a positive attitude, and who are interested in learning.” Quite the opposite. If companies want the ability to devote more time to innovation and sales, they should become ardent advocates of schools like Greenwood and Edgewood Elementary Schools. Additional past designees are Brown Deer Middle and High School, Meyer Middle School, Pleasant Prairie Elementary and the entire South Milwaukee School District is both a State and National School District of Character. Companies and organizations should encourage the spread of Character Education in their communities then model the schools in their own organizations.

An article in the Ivey Business Journal, states the following attributes of an excellent employee: respectful, cooperative, fair, compassionate, humble, and self-directed. Wisconsin schools involved in Character Education are doing their best to instill these qualities both for the sake of business but more importantly for the sake of our communities.

Help about implementation of Character Education is available at both the state and national levels. Visit the websites (national) and (state). This approach to developing lifelong and professional skills particularly leadership is not expensive.

Greenwood and Edgewood Elementary Schools will be honored at a banquet on June 19, 2017 for the SSOC achievement. They will be honored at the NSOC conference in Arlington, VA October 20-21, 2017.

To learn more about Character Education, community leaders are invited to the Character Education Conference on June 20, 2017, on the Alverno campus. Keynote speakers include Tom Hoerr, PhD of the New City School in St. Louis and Leroy Butler, former Green Bay Packer, who has made bullying prevention a personal mission. Visit to register.

Richard R. Pieper, Sr. is the non-executive chairman of PPC Partners, Inc. in Milwaukee.

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