William O. Schaefer Elementary School

Character Education

In accordance with the South Orangetown Central School District goals, character education at WOS is designed to promote a respectful and engaged learning environment for our students and staff. Our mission is to develop empowered, caring, flexible and resilient children who are self-aware and able to adjust behaviors and actions to improve their situation and the situations of others. It is our responsibility to contribute to the school community, to support one another, and to make this a great place to learn!

The character education program is comprised of four main components, with some additional, related pieces. They are:

  • Themes for each month with related character building and literacy activities and assemblies
  • Curriculum that supports social emotional development, specifically the ability to recognize, understand, label, express and regulate emotions (RULER approach from Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence)
  • Clarity and explicit teaching of expected (and unexpected) behaviors for different scenarios (PBIS approach)
  • Responsive Classroom approach that uses a Morning Meeting structure to connect the three components already listed, and to respond to the social and emotional needs of each child in the classroom

Additional supportive components of Character Education at WOS

  • The teaching and practice of Mindfulness, when appropriate
  • Purposeful teaching and use of the Buddy Bench on the playground
  • Making cross-curricular connections in an authentic way to link the academic to the social emotional learning

At William O. Schaefer, we live these practices and beliefs on a daily basis!

WOS Character Education Blog

 Words of the Month


Communities are Diverse

Diversity Assembly

Communities are Inclusive

Inclusive Assembly

Communities are Courageous

Courage Assembly

Communities show Resilience

Resilience Assembly

Communities show Acceptance

Acceptance Assembly


Communities are Empowered

Empowerment Assembly

Communities show Persistence

Persistence Assembly

Compassion Assembly

Communities are Individuals



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