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Click to download our Nationwide Partnership Programming Guide

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CharacterPlus® is your partner on your personalized social, emotional, and character development journey. We meet you where you are and help you build a strong, positive school culture, strengthening the foundations necessary to create amazing communities where everyone can be their best.



CharacterPlus empowers the next generation of leaders, inspiring them to be compassionate people of integrity. We provide evidence-based approaches and effective practices that help educators create a caring, high-achieving school culture where every person can show up as their best self.


We do this by promoting positive social, emotional, and character development in young people, partnering with schools, families, and communities to provide character education evidence-based processes and experiences, expert support and coaching, and professional resources.

CharacterPlus has over 30 years of experience in building strong communities of character by investing in the character development of young people in thousands of classrooms and by focusing on the SEL needs of students and staff. Founded in 1988 by Sanford (Sandy) N. McDonnell, a leading advocate of character education and Chairman Emeritus of McDonnell Douglas Corporation, CharacterPlus’s history involves partnering with schools committed to enriching the whole child. CharacterPlus’s process is nationally recognized and is one of the most successful community-wide character education initiatives in the country.


Through a variety of proven methods, CharacterPlus helps educators and administrators embed a flexible, character-based framework that creates a positive school environment where all staff and students feel safe to be themselves, learn, and thrive.


The most notable characteristic that sets CharacterPlus apart from other character and SEL initiatives is the fact that we do not have a binder of lessons or a specific curriculum that schools implement. Rather, we work to build a deep, foundational understanding among stakeholders of how and why social, emotional, and character development are the key to student success. We create a customized approach for each school and district with whom we partner, with the goal of weaving character into the fabric of the school community.


CharacterPlus’ asset-based approach means that if your school is already using lessons that explicitly teach character or SEL skills, that is great. If they are adding value to your school, we do not try to replace them or have you stop using them. Rather, we customize our programming to work with these current programs and lessons to enhance their impact. We know, however, that when these stand-alone programs are considered a school’s entire social-emotional and character initiative, they often fall far short of the intended outcomes. They can feel like just another thing on the crowded school-initiative plate instead of something worthwhile. CharacterPlus is your partner in developing the foundations deep within your culture to help the people in your community be their best selves and know that this effort is worthwhile.


Our foundational work is centered around the ABCs of Character: Autonomy, Belonging, and Competence. These concepts are at the heart of what makes human beings excel; they are the motivation that propels people to want to be the best version of themselves. The concept of internal motivation is grounded in years of research around Deci and Ryan’s Self-Determination Theory.


This research is connected to all aspects of the school community:


●  Staff Culture

●  Student Culture

●  Mission, Vision, and Values

●  Leadership

●  Communication

●  Service Learning

●  Assessment-Capable Learners

●  Data and Accountability


When students and staff feel the ABCs working in all aspects of the school, the data overwhelmingly demonstrates the impact on achievement, behavior, and trust. In addition, the school becomes a community where everyone feels empowered, valued, and where a sense of belonging is palpable.


Click to download our Nationwide Partnership Programming Guide

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