Principles of character education taught as part of the unique curriculum for high school and middle school students

What are the 11 principles of character education?

After digging deep into the pillars of character education, I spent time focusing on the principles of character education.

That I wanted to include into the S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education curriculum. (formerly the Character Education Partnership) developed the detailed framework called 11 Principles Framework for Schools: A Guide to Cultivating a Character-Inspired Culture. This framework is the basis for the 11 principles of character education that educators have been teaching using my program. 

Principle 1: Promotes core ethical and performance values as the basis of good character

This principle essentially says good character is based on a set of generally accepted values such as respect, responsibility, fairness, and caring. 

Principle 2: Defines “character” comprehensively to include thinking, feeling, and behavior

Good character looks at the whole individual.

Principle 3: Uses a comprehensive, intentional, and proactive approach to character development

Character development is a collective engagement between the student, school, parents and community.

Principle 4: Creates a caring school community

When care starts at school, it spills over to the communities where the students live.

Principle 5: Provides students with opportunities for moral action

Students need situations which allow them to practice what they are learning.

Principle 6: Includes a meaningful and challenging academic curriculum that respects all learners, develops their character, and helps them to succeed

Learners will succeed at different things. To some, succeeding in the character education curriculum is all they need to develop self-confidence.

Principle 7: Strives to foster students’ self-motivation

Character education should promote an internal desire in the learner to learn rather than external motivation through coercion or other means. 

Principle 8: Engages the school staff as a learning and moral community that shares responsibility for character education and attempts to adhere to the same core values that guide the education of students

The school body acts as a unified group supporting character development.

Principle 9: Fosters shared moral leadership and long-range support of the character education initiative

When developing character development, think long-term. 

Principle 10: Engages families and community members as partners in the character-building effort

Partnering with families and communities increases the chances of success of a character development program.

Principle 11: Assesses the character of the school, the school staff’s functioning as character educators, and the extent to which students’ manifest good character.

It is important to assess the character education program to gauge its success.

When schools and districts adopt the S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education curriculum, I engage everyone involved. Because character education plays a role in building stable future communities, the community for the student is requested to engage. 

Educators, students, and even parents participate in the implementation of the program to do our best to ensure support and reinforcement for the new lessons students learn. 

And the impact is life-changing for everyone involved.



I’m Summer Owens, and my passion is helping youth and young adults realize success no matter what obstacles they face. As an international resilience and leadership keynote speaker, author, S.O. What! Success Coach, and creator of the S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education curriculum, I empower people to say, “So what!” to even their greatest challenges.  provide a framework to help people see past their challenges and focus on solutions using the S.O. What! Success System (Overcome Obstacles + Eliminate Excuses + Calculate Choices = S.O. What! Success). Through keynotes, workshops, books, online courses, and workbooks, I use life’s challenges and my own story of resilience as a rape survivor and teen mom success story to help others confidently pursue their dreams.

Looking for an inspiring college motivational speaker? A high school literacy curriculum? A middle school life skills workbook? A great example for teen mothers? A women’s empowerment or single mother’s conference speaker?  I’m your girl and will help any audience say, “S.O. What!”.