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Two TCS Schools Receive State School of Character Designation

Two Tuscaloosa City Schools receive National Character recognition 

Seventy-three schools across the country received the “2023 State School of Character” designation Jan. 27, and two of them were schools in the Tuscaloosa City School System. 

Skyland Elementary and Oakdale Elementary received the designation this month, something that the two schools have been working toward in their character education efforts, the principals said. 

“I am ecstatic and honored that Oakdale was named a State School of Character by,” said Dr. Lucille Prewitt, principal of Oakdale Elementary. “We have put in the work. We build good character daily, one child at a time, and it is nice to be recognized for this work. We teach our students they must live a life of character, their values must be attached to principles, and those principles must be adhered to develop character.”

Dr. Selena Speight, principal of Skyland, agreed and said the character education efforts have already shown positive results at her school. 

“ I am so proud of the faculty, staff, and students for making character development a priority,” Speight said. “At Skyland, we focus on determination, optimism, accountability, and respect. We reflect daily on our core values, and it is evident in the positive culture we have at Skyland. It is essential that our students have the skills they need to be productive citizens because character plays a vital role in the student's academic success and emotional well-being.”

The designation is meant to recognize schools and districts that demonstrate a dedicated focus on character development. Research has shown that character development has a positive impact on academic achievement, student behavior and school climate. Oakdale and Skyland join three other TCS schools - Tuscaloosa Magnet Elementary, Tuscaloosa Magnet Middle and Westlawn Middle, who received the “2022 State School of Character” designation last for Alabama. All three went on to receive the national honor last year. 

In addition to Skyland and Oakdale receiving the state character award, three other TCS schools received honorable mention in the 2023 competition, meaning they are also making progress in character education. Those schools include Eastwood Middle School, Rock Quarry Elementary and STARS Academy. Six other TCS Schools were designated as “Emerging Schools of Character” - The Alberta School of Performing Arts, Central Elementary, Central High School, Arcadia Elementary, Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary and Paul W. Bryant High School. 

It is the second consecutive year that TCS schools have received the state character designation. The fact that the schools were recognized with the honor is the result of hard work on behalf of the school’s leadership and educators, but it’s also because of the good work that was already being done at each of these schools, said Dr. Jessica Constant, TCS coordinator of student services. 

“I know the sweat, tears, long days and nights that schools have endured to see this process to the end,” said Constant. “As the district facilitator, I see firsthand the impact that these schools are making in the lives of students, parents, and the community as they transform their schools by building positive relationships and giving students a safe and conducive environment to learn and grow.”