WHBI named New York State School of Character

The William H. Barton Intermediate School has been named a New York State School of Character by character.org, a national advocate and leader for character.

The Queensbury intermediate school was one of only three schools in the state to get this recognition.A school building

Character.org certifies schools and districts each year at the state level that have developed and implemented an intentional, proactive and comprehensive approach that embeds character into all aspects of the school life. Schools and districts announced today will be considered for Character.org’s highest distinction — National School of Character. 

Character.org designated 73 state-level Schools of Character and two Districts of Character for 2023. 

Since its inception, Character.org’s Schools of Character program has positively impacted nearly three million students, staff, parents and other community members.

“Each of these schools and districts have put into place an initiative that equips and empowers their staff to reinforce and model a range of positive core values that will shape and form the hearts, minds, and choices of their students,” said Dr. Arthur Schwartz, president of Character.org. 

Criteria for selection are based on Character.org’s 11 Principles Framework for Schools: A Guide to Cultivating a Culture of Character. The framework includes key indicators on creating a caring school community where everyone feels they belong, providing students with opportunities to practice and reflect on their character strengths, and engaging families and communities as partners in the school’s character initiative.

Those 11 principles align with the district’s core values and mission statement, said WHBI Principal Gwynne Cosh. WHBI strives to cultivate a culture of character, focusing less on rules and more on expectations using intrinsic motivation in school.

“Our students are in an environment that is grounded in the foundation of relationships and nurturing and doing what’s best for everyone,” Cosh said. “We see the bigger picture. They don’t have to wait to grow up to make an impact on the world.”

Character.org gave the William H. Barton Intermediate School a score of 3.7 out of 4. 

WHBI now has the opportunity to apply at the national level. The school received the national designation in 2018, a five year accreditation. 

“We’re really just creating better human beings,” Cosh said. 

The 2023 National Schools of Character will be announced in May 2023 and honored at our 30th Anniversary International Forum next fall in Washington D.C.

“It’s so exciting to see our district prevail for all the hard work that the WHBI staff, students and faculty put in on a daily basis,” said Superintendent Kyle Gannon. “It feels rewarding and could not be more fitting for the excellence that happens on a daily basis in that building.”

Character.org also named Queensbury Middle School a 2023 Honorable Mention School of Character. Queensbury High School was named a New York State School of Character in 2022.