"The whole school embraces the trait each month," said Nadolski.
The character education program will soon extend beyond the school walls as McNamara's character education committee develops and implements service learning projects for each grade level. The committee's vision is to provide community service opportunities for each grade level by collaborating with agencies in Baldwinsville and the Syracuse area. The main goal of partnering with agencies is to connect community service to learning while filling unmet needs in the community.
Class projects for the agencies would require students to use their skills in planning, teamwork, math, writing, technology, social studies and critical thinking to serve community needs. For example, the second grade has partnered with the Golisano Children's Hospital. Planned projects include decorating book bags for the children who attend school while in the hospital, as well as using computer and technology skills to create bookmarks for the children.
The character education traits that are highlighted each month at McNamara and in all of the district's elementary schools are respect (September), responsibility (October), caring (November), citizenship (December), diversity (January), honesty and trustworthiness (February), justice and fairness (March), cooperation (April), self-discipline (May) and integrity (June).
Principal Jane Nadolski reads a book about diversity to kindergartners at McNamara Elementary School. Each month, Nadolski visits as many classrooms as she can and reads a book that reflects the school's character education trait of the month.