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Contra Costa Schools Ask Students, Community to "Choose Civility"

Board members for the Martinez Unified School District will discuss the "Choose Civility" initiative and in Monday evening's meeting on Aug. 27.

How can educators help instill civility in students, and inspire positive behavior in co-workers and community members?

Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Ovick is leading an initiative to help students, teachers and community members "choose civility" by behaving respectfully and working collaboratively in their communities. Ovick will present the details of the initiative to the Martinez school board in Monday evening's meeting. 

The initiative is inspired by the work of Dr. P.M. Forni, author of the 2002 book Choosing Civility: The Twenty-five Rules of Considerate Conduct. The county is focusing on a list of 10 of the principles, chosen by the Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year, in an attempt to "promote the importance of civility in a world becoming less civil, and encourage community members to choose positive and respectful behaviors in their personal and work lives."

Students in Contra Costa County are being given the following advice for civil behavior in school, at home and in the community:

  • Pay Attention
  • Acknowledge Others
  • Listen
  • Speak Kindly
  • Accept and Give Praise
  • Respect Others’ Opinions
  • Be Inclusive
  • Respect Other People’s Time
  • Don’t Shift Responsibility and Blame
  • Apologize Earnestly

The school board meets Monday, Aug. 27 at 6:30 p.m. in the . Agendas and minutes can be found on the Martinez Unified School District website.

What do you think of the "Choose Civility" initiative? Will students pay attention? Do they need to? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Chris Kapsalis August 27, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Practice what you preach first. I find it funny adults will be trying to teach kids about civility. Should be the other way around by what I observe in society.
George March September 02, 2012 at 10:06 PM
A 'nice' list, but the biggest thing I see completely absent in this whole discussion is "Parent". Teaching respect and the associated values you are stressing should begin at home, long before kids get to school. It should not be the job of paid educators (school teachers) to teach these kinds of obvious values. That is the **JOB** of 'PARENT.' The list of "advice for civil behavior" leaves out some very important pieces - here are some additional suggestions : Acceptance of responsibility for your own actions; stand up for your rights; learn the values of leadership; be law-abiding; be truthful in word and deed; be helpful to others; be clean in language and action. [Ever heard of the "Scout Law"? There's some good stuff there] Sadly I see way too many adults/parents (as Chris notes) who have little understanding of any of this.
Chris Kapsalis September 02, 2012 at 10:26 PM
George, I think a little league game is a perfect example. Seems kids have respect more, parents? And in pro sports? Fights. Bad losers. All around it is the kids who lead in civility imo. From politics to business, adults are no one to teach civility. However, if some parents fail in teaching it, then what? I think peer pressure could work. A student based court of sorts. Let them figure it out more. A real court with real trials and punishments ran by students. It would teach them more than just the justice system. I bet there would be less bullying. Less skipping school. Less alcohol etc. At that age you want to impress your friends a lot more than you want to impress your parents or teachers I think.

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