The Cy-Fair ISD board of trustees unanimously approved a locally developed character education plan called Bringing Out the Best on Aug. 8 to replace the No Place for Hate Program, which the board suspended in 2021.

“I’m glad that we did not choose to just take a program off the shelf that was created by someone else,” Trustee Julie Hinaman said at the Aug. 4 board work session. “This was created by our stakeholders, by our teachers, by our counselors, by parents with student input.”

Character education is required by the state to be integrated into each district’s curriculum, and districts can choose between an existing program or creating their own. According to CFISD officials, the goal of the plan is to show students how to interact with society.

State law mandates the values of trustworthiness, responsibility, caring and citizenship be taught to grades K-12 as appropriate. Under the banner of these four values lies specific character traits that must be woven into the curriculum: loyalty, integrity, reliability, punctuality, kindness, empathy, charity, generosity, patience, consideration, compassion, accountability, perseverance, diligence, self-control, respect, courtesy, concern for common good, fairness, freedom from prejudice, justice, patriotism, school pride, respect for authority and gratitude.

The Texas Education Code outlines parameters for establishing a character education curriculum, which is under the direction of the State Board of Education. According to board policy, these plans must be developed through a committee selected by the school district featuring parents, educators and other community members.

“[Knowing] the definition, statute policy and requirements for the district, as educators we realized the importance of considering why character education matters to us,” CFISD Director of Professional Learning Glenda Horner said.

The district created a committee that researched how these traits were already being taught in Cy-Fair schools and how to improve on current practices. The committee concluded the values should be integrated into the academic curriculum and other district initiatives; monthly lessons should complement campus programs; and teacher training should be embedded in back-to-school professional development this summer.

The program rollout is designed to span three years, allowing the district to cover all 25 character traits in the program. A different trait will be emphasized each month, with the subsequent months building on previous knowledge and qualities while teaching something new.

According to district officials, the program will kick off in 2022-23 with a focus on school pride in September, integrity in October, gratitude in November and December, accountability in January, kindness in February, patience in March, perseverance in April, and respect in May.

“We started with school pride specifically because we want all 93 of our campuses to have the pride from those students that attend to have that sense of belonging and continue to take those relationships to the next level,” Chief Officer for School Leadership Roy Garcia said.

To review the full character education presentation, click here.