Schools are among only four in the state, 170 in the nation

Greensboro, N.C. – Three GCS schools were honored recently for their commitment to developing character. Bluford STEM Academy, Southeast High and Sumner Elementary were recognized for their Promising Practices by the organization

The three schools were among only four in the state and 170 in the nation this year to earn the designation, which is given to schools with programs and initiatives that “have demonstrated significant impact and strongly align with the principles that help schools and organizations cultivate a culture of character,” according to

Southeast High, a state School of Character, was selected for its program “Falcons Feeding Families,” a program through which packaged, unused food is collected and redistributed to community organizations. Students in the Occupational Course of Study collect and sort the items, learning valuable job skills in the process.

Bluford STEM Academy’s winning program is called CASTLE (Character and Service Through Leadership Experiences) and is open to fourth and fifth graders who have been nominated by their teachers. CASTLE members work to ensure all students and staff are safe and that protocols are followed during arrival and dismissal times. “They also step up in their classrooms as pillars of character and assist their own teachers with anything needed,” says multi-classroom leader Kristina Biddle.

Sumner Elementary’s “Skip, Shimmy, Soar, Principal Party” program recognizes students who demonstrate understanding and leadership of the monthly character trait that is taught to all students. The selected students are invited to a 10-minute dance party with the principal, where they are recognized and presented with an award. Their names are shared and displayed at the school that week, until a new group of students is chosen.

Since 2012, more than 90 GCS programs have been recognized as Promising Practice recipients. 

About Guilford County Schools 

Guilford County Schools, the third largest school district in North Carolina and the 50th largest of more than 14,000 in the United States, serves more than 70,000 PK-12 students at 126 schools. With approximately 9,800 employees, GCS works in partnership with parents, businesses, colleges and the community to deliver an education that connects student interests and skills with the careers and economy of our future here and around the world. We provide educational choices to meet individual student needs in a culturally diverse citizenship and new opportunities to help our students Soar to Greatness. For more information, visit the district’s website at

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