The mission of Larson Middle School is to ensure learning for all members of the school community. Our vision is to remain an exemplary learning community that embraces innovation and is committed to continuous improvement. In order to support the mission & vision, our STRONG core values are resilience, respect, responsibility, and relationships. They represent ways to improve self-worth, personal relationships amongst peers and student to teacher relationships. Each year we re-evaluate our focus and areas of improvement determining how to better serve the Larson community.
Larson staff is a learning community that values character education and adheres to the same core values that guide the students. Larson focuses on promoting pro-kindness rather than an anti-bullying sentiment. The STRONG model has had a dramatic impact over the course of the last four years reaching the hallways, classrooms, assemblies, social media, and LMS spirit wear. These items have helped establish a STRONG brand here at Larson. The emphasis of STRONG relationships with teachers and students permeates throughout teachers’ lessons and interactions within the hallways. Communication among staff, students and families has created a team environment where we are focused on each child’s success.
A kick-off assembly reminds students of our pillars, rules and expectations. Posters, displays, and t-shirts act as reminders of our pillars. The STRONG monthly lessons promote activities, discussions, and evaluation of our core values. We are focusing more on the intrinsic motivation with the 4 pillars. Teachers begin the school year by establishing a culture of mutual respect and understanding. This focus on positive relationships, motivates students to display integrity. Incorporation of the 4 pillars in discussions/lessons is visible beyond the STRONG lessons.
Character development is built into our curriculum, school activities, and the core values of Larson. Staff and students have worked collaboratively to develop a common understanding of our four pillars and what they look like in every aspect of our daily life at Larson. Those collaborations are ongoing and have resulted in multiple opportunities for students to develop their character. Larson students are encouraged to continually model and incorporate our four pillars within their daily lives.
The restorative actions that are taking place at LMS are helping all students work toward improved healthy relationships. Specifically, students are considering their relationships, choosing how to promote respect, act on their responsibilities, and grow their resiliency skills during times they are challenged. The Larson STRONG community is committed to growing students in the most meaningful ways, especially in the area of character development.
Larson Middle School Named 2019 National School of Character
The Troy School District is pleased to announce that Character.org, a national advocate and leader for character in education, has named Larson Middle School a 2019 National School of Character, one of only 88 schools across the country to receive this important distinction. The program recognized Larson as a school that has demonstrated its use of character development to drive a positive impact on academics, student behavior and Larson’s cultural climate.
Principal Joe Duda commended the entire Larson Community for coming together in support of character education. “This recognition is a result of a shared commitment to character and involves everyone at Larson: our students, our parents, and our staff. They clearly believe promoting and growing character is an important responsibility that has numerous positive effects on our school. Our staff have worked tirelessly over the past 6 years to deepen our understanding of character education and have improved our practices each year based on the valuable feedback we have received from School of Character Application Process.” Larson was designated a State School of Character back in 2018.
Mr. Duda offered special acknowledgement to Larson teachers Nancy Lining (retired), Charlie Tull, Jen Rogers and Laura Garver. These teachers served as committee leaders and designed school-wide character-based lessons which were recognized as innovative by the judges. Lastly, Duda commended all LMS staff for integrating Larson’s 4 pillars (Respect, Responsibility, Resilience, and Relationships) into their curriculum and daily classroom practices. “Our staff strives each day to grow and maintain strong caring relationships at Larson Middle School. This recognition is a testament to that effort.”
The Schools of Character application process is an opportunity for schools and districts to receive thoughtful feedback for growth and excellence in the area of character development through Character.org’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education framework. It is also a method of recognizing exemplary schools and districts in the nation. According to Doug Karr, Character.org’s President & CEO: “These schools’ representatives, including educators, parents, and students, are working together to create stronger communities focused on character. We are honored to validate their efforts and continue coaching them along their journeys. ”
“While this is certainly wonderful recognition, we know our commitment to promoting positive character is never-ending,” concluded Duda. “We are grateful for Character.org for their efforts to create a state and national discussion on the importance of character in education. We are eager to carry this distinction for years to come and are hopeful our example will encourage other schools in Michigan and across the country to participate in this program in order to enhance students’ lives statewide.” Character.org will honor these schools and districts at the 2019 National Forum to be held Oct 24-27, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Since its inception in 1998, Character.org has recognized less than 500 schools with the distinction of National School of Character. For more information or to learn more about Schools of Character.org, visit www.character.org.