Character in the Catholic Schools
Character in the Classroom, a Feb. 9 workshop for
teachers in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, was the first
step in launching a new national curriculum for Catholic Schools
developed by Center Director of Character Education Steve Johnson.
The project, which will debut a complete middle school language
arts curriculum this summer, combines teaching character and
The new project builds on the Centers Character-Based
Literacy (CBL) Curriculum, which is used in the majority of
California counties and in individual public and private schools
throughout the country. CBL integrates the teaching of ethics
into K-12 classes in language arts, and high school social studies
and science courses.
The kick-off workshop for the San Francisco Archdiocese addressed
the question, What can teachers actually do in the classroom
to influence the character of students? Every teacher
in the system attended sessions led by a team that included
Johnson, Center Executive Director Kirk O. Hanson, Director
of Campus Ethics David DeCosse, and Center Fellow in Global
Ethics Almaz Negash. Other SCU faculty affiliated with the Ethics
Center also gave presentations.
Johnson has also been instrumental in revising SCUs Catholic
Education Emphasis Program within the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary
Education. The program is aimed at future Catholic school teachers.
What makes the emphasis unique, according to Lester Goodchild,
dean of the SCU School of Education, Counseling Psychology,
and Pastoral Ministries, is that it is interdisciplinary with
the Graduate Programs in Pastoral Ministry. Because SCUs
graduate school combines these fields, students can take courses
in education, as well as in subjects such as catechetics and
Johnson will be teaching a new class designed specifically for
the emphasis, Ministry for Disability and Diversity.
Catholic schools, he said, serve a wide variety of youngsters,
and teachers must be able to create welcoming environments for
Johnson also directs the Ethics Camps that are a requirement
for students in the emphasis. These popular four-day summer
workshops for educators include camps specifically for teachers
in Catholic schools. This year, the Center is running two camps
targeted at leaders and educators in Catholic schools in the
CSJ Educational Network, a ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph
of Orange. The middle school curriculum will be introduced at