Two Illinois Schools of Character Recognized

February 4, 2019 | Joliet, Ill.

Harmony Intermediate Center and Emge Junior High School have been selected as 2019 Illinois Schools of Character by the Illinois Schools of Character Evaluation Team sponsored by the University of St. Francis (USF) and the Will County Character Coalition. Both schools are located in Belleville, Illinois.

The Illinois State School of Character award recognizes schools or districts that demonstrate a dedicated focus on character development, which has a positive effect on academic achievement, student behavior and school climate. These two Illinois State Schools of Character winners exemplify the Eleven Principles of Effective Character Development of, a national advocate and leader for character in communities, schools, districts, families, workplaces and sports, located in Washington, D.C. Harmony Intermediate Center and Emge Junior High School’s applications will be considered for’s highest distinction – National School of Character – which will be announced in May 2019. This year nationally, 87 schools and 3 districts in 18 states where designated as 2019 State Schools of Character.

“These two schools have created caring school climates where character is taught, celebrated and lived in service to the school and community,” said Madonna Murphy, Ph.D., Coordinator of the Illinois Schools of Character Program and a professor at the University of St. Francis. “Research shows that schools that promote character education develop students who grow to become confident and ethical leaders. The Committee was impressed with how these schools start each semester with a Character Education Boot Camp and they have High Five Greeters and High Five Fridays to build a caring character rich community.”

After being named State and National Schools of Character, schools serve as models and mentors, helping other educators transform their school cultures and improve academics and student behavior.’s objective is for all schools to become Schools of Character.  The process of applying, receiving feedback, and technical assistance from and affiliates will put all applicants on the path to excellence and making a way for every student to attend a National School or District of Character.

For more information about Schools of Character, visit or contact Madonna Murphy, Ph.D., at or 312-485-3212.

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves over 4,000 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 49,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.