Character Counts


A Message from Superintendent Teagarden 

Richard Teagarden
























Parents, Educators, and Community Friends:

  The dawn of a new millennium is the perfect time for us to take stock of our world and to look for ways to improve it. The most important thing that we can do to improve our world is to help people become better people. That is what Counting on Character is all about. Over the last several years we have drawn attention to the need for active character education, and we have had a positive impact on the character of students, teachers, and administrators.

  As an educator and a father I have been profoundly affected by the school tragedies that have been occurring with alarming frequency over the past several years. Behavior is a reflection of a person's character. It is not enough for us to teach behaviors, we have to help our young people to become people of outstanding character, people who know the difference between right and wrong, and who care about doing what is right.

  I have dedicated my life to helping our community's young people. I am saddened every time a young person fails to complete his or her education, but more than that, I am saddened when a child becomes an adult without having grown into a person of good character. Character education is vital to our efforts to strengthen families, build the economy, and return civility to our culture.

  These are formidable tasks, and they will not be achieved by focusing only on teaching students reading, writing, and arithmetic. We have to help parents to help their children become people of outstanding character. We have always sought to support parents in their efforts to help their children become people of outstanding character, but now we have new allies in this struggle. This year we are working with businesses, service clubs, government agencies, churches, and a variety of other people and organizations in our community to create a community of character. This is the next step in our effort to help one another to become people of outstanding character.

  We are teaching character in Yuba County schools to help, not supplant parents in their effort to help their children become people of outstanding character. It is exciting to be part of a community-wide campaign, but we should not allow it to distract us from our core duty to the parents of our students. The addition of some new words as part of the Community of Character program is not meant to reduce the flexibility of this program, which has always been one of its greatest strengths. Character education succeeds best when teachers invest time and energy into adapting programs to the unique needs of their students.

  The dawn of a new millennium is the perfect time to bring new hope to our community. We all have a duty to help in nurturing this new hope by helping each other to become better people. Students who are better people will be better learners, better workers, and one day, better parents. Let us work with parents to help them to help their children become better people, and in the process make us better educators and better people.


Richard Teagarden
Yuba County Superintendent of Schools




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