Program : Middle School : Character Education
We are committed to contributing to the positive growth in character of each of our students, a pursuit that begins in
Preschool and continues on through Grade 8. This focus encompasses everything from how we share toys in the sandbox to how
we make good decisions about friendships and behavior. Our list of Character Building Qualities
gives the community a shared language and permeates the curriculum.
Character across the curriculum
In their classes, Middle School students often find themselves engaged in discussion about values and character, in the
context of their course work. While reading Romeo and Juliet or Beowulf, you might discover yourself discussing whether
revenge is ethical. In the context of both Elizabethan times and current events, you’ll think about what it means to be
a traitor: is it traitorous to wish something devastating would happen, whether the idea is acted upon or not? Are you
a traitor if you cheat on your taxes? In science classes ethical conversations abound on topics such as genetically
modified organisms, water rights, global warming, and research. Other issues include the environmental impact of mining
for minerals, our impact on coral reefs for tourism purposes, and cloning.
Regular assemblies for Grades 1-8, led by both teachers and students, give us the opportunity to honor goodness and address
character issues. Middle School students frequently take leadership roles at Assembly.
The Middle School Advisory Program is central to character education as it provides a caring environment where students can
analyze and discuss issues they face in everyday life. Advisory groups also take part in service activities on campus and
in the larger community.
Students in Grade 8 take part in a class on ethics, led by a member of the Board of Trustees, who is a trained facilitator
in the field of ethics. The curriculum grows out of the Institute for Global Ethics. In this
class students learn about making choices and how those choices impact others. They discuss and develop shared core values
and establish a class code of ethics. They learn a variety of ways to determine right from wrong and consider the need for
moral courage in today’s society. Our students learn to think and act based upon values and reasoning. Participation in this
class leads students towards meaningful leadership roles in Middle School and beyond.
Character matters. At our Middle School, in the safety of a small, homelike environment, students have opportunities to role
play and to engage in rich discussions on issues that will confront them in high school and later in life. The Middle School
at Fox River Country Day School is an oasis of calm for developing independent reasoning skills and a strong sense of self, both
of which will contribute to the future happiness and success of our students.