Beverly Elementary School, Birmingham Covington School and Greenfield Elementary School have all been recognized as 2023 State Schools of Character.

Beverly Elementary School, Birmingham Covington School and Greenfield Elementary School have all been recognized as 2023 State Schools of Character.

Photo provided by Birmingham Public Schools

Birmingham schools named State Schools of Character

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published February 22, 2023


BIRMINGHAM — Each year, recognizes schools and districts that have been intentional, proactive and comprehensive about incorporating character into all aspects of school life. Four Michigan schools received this designation this year, three of which are part of Birmingham Public Schools.

The 2023 State Schools and Districts of Character in Michigan include Beverly Elementary School in Beverly Hills, Birmingham Covington School in Bloomfield Hills, Greenfield Elementary School in Beverly Hills and Leonard Elementary School in Troy. bases its selection of the State Schools and Districts of Character on its “11 Principles Framework for Schools: A Guide to Cultivating a Culture of Character.” They say these principles serve as guideposts to building a caring school community. State Schools and Districts of Character will be considered for 2023 National Schools of Character. These designations will be announced in May, and schools will be honored in the fall in Washington, D.C.

In 2018, Beverly Elementary School, Birmingham Covington School and Greenfield Elementary School were named National Schools of Character, in addition to Quarton Elementary School and West Maple Elementary. The same year, Birmingham Public Schools was named a National District of Character.

Beverly Elementary Principal Matthew Fairchild said the journey to becoming a 2023 State School and District of Character began about five years ago, immediately after their national recognition.

“We just continued to work forward.  gives you feedback about how you can even improve your practice, so we tried to implement those things to continue and grow as a school of character, obviously making sure that it benefits our students and teachers,” Fairchild said.

Beverly Elementary’s core values are honesty, inclusiveness, kindness, respect and responsibility. These were determined by sending out a survey to the school community.

Fairchild said they found that the answers were in general similar across the board as they evaluated the feedback.

Once these five core values were selected, students created a touchstone to represent what is important to the school community.

The Bobcat Behavior Touchstone lists each value and includes symbolism that shows the school’s unity. Fairchild said this touchstone has become like a second logo to the school.

Birmingham Covington School’s core values are respect, kindness, responsibility, empathy and integrity. These values were considered by stakeholders and are represented on the student-developed touchstone called the “cobra compass.”

“We did this as we were kind of going through the pandemic. We felt like it was a good time to sort of reassess what our values are as a community,” said Birmingham Covington School Principal Omar Hakim.

Each school encourages character throughout the community through several different programs and activities.

The Community Read program by Birmingham Covington School is one way they promote character education by connecting students through interdisciplinary activities across grade levels.

Beverly Elementary demonstrates its core values through “Bobcat Den,” a multigrade team meeting where students learn about different areas in character learning. Every student is assigned a den, where they remain for all of their years at Beverly Elementary. These meetings allow students and teachers to connect across classes and grade levels.

Fairchild emphasized that earning this recognition was a community effort that was supported by the district and the community.

Each school website shares more information on its character education efforts, core values and unique touchstone.