Joliet, Ill. – The Illinois Schools of Character Evaluation Team has selected Harmony School District 175 in Belleville, IL as the 2020 Illinois District of Character, a designation they will keep for the next five years. The College of Education at the University of St. Francis and the Will County Character Coalition with Will County State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow sponsor the Illinois Schools of Character program that seeks to recognizes schools or districts in Illinois that demonstrate an outstanding character education initiative that yields positive results in student behavior, school climate and academic performance.

Harmony School District 175 is one of seven 2020 State Districts of Character nationwide announced this week by, a national nonprofit that works with schools and districts to inspire, educate and empower young people to be ethical and engaged citizens.

The Illinois Schools/Districts of Character program was established in 1993 and Harmony School District 175 in Belleville, Illinois is the second school district in the State of Illinois to receive this award. The District exemplifies the Eleven Principles of Effective Character Development, (which are nationally recognized, and research validated principles) which include providing students with opportunities for moral action, fostering shared leadership, and engaging families and communities as partners in the character-building effort. 

“Through the leadership of superintendent Dave Deets and with his team of principals, teachers and staff at each school in the district, Harmony School District 175 has created a caring climate where character is taught, celebrated and lived in service to the school and community,” said USF College of Education professor and Illinois Schools of Character Program coordinator Madonna Murphy, Ph.D. “To be named a State District of Character is the culmination of a multi-year goal that has involved every stakeholder in the Harmony School District. They have created a culture and climate in each school in the district that deliberate strives to build better citizens and a community of character.”

As a State District of Character, Harmony District 175 will serve as a model and mentor, helping other educators transform their school cultures and improve academics and student behavior.

The objective of is for all schools and districts to become National Schools/Districts 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.  Visit for more information.

Currently celebrating 100 years of higher education rooted in Franciscan values, the University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 50,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit

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

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