Schools Recognized for Excellence in Character Development

February 9, 2018 | Joliet, Ill.

The University of St. Francis (USF) College of Education (COE), in partnership with the Will County Character Coalition, are proud sponsors of the Illinois State Schools of Character (ISSC) program. Each year the ISSC selects schools and/or school districts for the annual Illinois State Schools of Character recognition. The ISSC seeks to recognize schools and school districts that demonstrate outstanding character education, which yields positive results in student behavior, school climate and academic performance.

This year the evaluation team selected Forest Park Intermediate Elementary of Joliet, Ill. and Ellis Elementary School in Belleville, Ill. This is the first year a school from Joliet Public School District #86 was named a school of character. These schools are among the 63 nationwide to be designated as State Schools of Character.

These organizations were chosen because they exemplify the eleven principles of effective character development and will be forwarded to the National Schools of Character competition sponsored by, formerly the Character Education Partnership, for National School of Character consideration. Each school and district will receive an ISSC banner at individual upcoming ceremonies. National schools of character will be named in May.

“Forest Park I.E. faculty, staff and administrators have created a comprehensive character building environment based on four pillars: responsibility, resourcefulness, respectfulness and responsiveness. These pillars permeate the entire school curriculum, service projects and school climate where the whole child philosophy cultivates character development in each child,” said Dr. Madonna Murphy, Coordinator of the Illinois Schools of Character Program. “The committee was also very impressed with the programs at Ellis Elementary School, especially their annual Character Expectations Boot Camp and their Buddy Bench which helps to promote character in the children. Ellis School also has many service projects that help the students to become productive members of society who are responsive to the needs of others.

The College of Education at the University of St. Francis and the Will County Character Coalition will honor the 2018 Illinois Schools of Character at the Character Education Conference in July 2018 at the University of St. Francis. 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.

For more information about Illinois Schools of Character, visit or contact Madonna Murphy at

Founded in 1920, the University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., is a Catholic, Franciscan university that serves 4,100 students nationwide; offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are more than 48,000 USF alumni across the globe.

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