From Survival to Success by Exploring the Three C’s

On Tuesday, May 23, 2023, NJASECD held its annual conference at Rider University. The theme of the conference was “From Survival to Success by Exploring the Three C’s.” The 2023 New Jersey Schools of Character were also recognized during the conference program. Experts and practitioners in the field of social, emotional, and character development presented breakout sessions on a range of topics related to the Three Cs – Core Values, SEL Competencies, and Citizenship.

Following a welcome by Dr. William Trusheim, President of NJASECD, the day began with our annual Recognition Ceremony honoring the 2023 New Jersey State Schools of Character. The ceremony was hosted by our State Coordinators, Laurie Coletti, Vice President of NJASECD and Mary Reinhold, Secretary of NJASECD. Steve Beatty, Vice President of NJEA, Kelly Allen and Jill Kuppel, representing the New Jersey State Department of Education, and Arthur Schwartz, President of helped to recognize our honored schools.

Dr. Bill Trusheim
Laurie Coletti and Mary Reinhold
Steve Beatty, NJEA
Steve Beatty, NJEA
Kelly Allen and Jill Kuppel NJ Department of Education
Dr. Arthur Schwartz

Applegarth Elementary School

Child Family Center

E. Raymond Appleby Elementary School

Fort Dix Elementary School

Franklin Elementary School

Hanover Park Regional HS District

Hilltop Elementary School

Howard L. Emmons Elementary School

Jefferson Elementary School

Joseph S. Stackhouse Elementary School

Kennedy Elementary School

Lakeside Middle School

Lalor Elementary School

Lincoln Roosevelt School

Madison Park Elementary School

Millville High School

Moss School

Nixon Elementary School

Pemberton Early Childhood Education Center

R.M. Bacon Elementary School

Samuel T. Busansky Elementary School

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7

Unity Charter School

Valleyview Middle School

Highland Regional High School

Holly Heights Elementary School

Jonas Salk Middle School

Mansion Avenue School

Mantua Township School District

Mary E. Volz School

New Brunswick Middle School

Richard C. Crockett Middle School

Roxbury High School

South River High School

Toms River High School East 

Eisenhower Middle School

Mount Pleasant Elementary School

Silver Run Elementary School

Rieck Avenue Elementary School

Following the recognition of our honored schools, Dr. Trusheim presented a special “Certificate of Achievement” to Eileen Dachnowicz who has served a long tenure as a member of the NJASECD Board of Trustees.  Eileen is stepping down from the board after this year.

Eileen has played a significant role in the growth of the Schools of Character Program in New Jersey and can be credited with the continued success of NJASECD. She has also served as a State and National Evaluator and Trainer and has worked with many of our New Jersey schools as they embarked on their character journey

Dr. Bill Trusheim and Eileen Dachmowicz

Keynote Panel

A Keynote Panel of experts followed the recognition ceremony. Members of the expert panel included Dr. Phil Brown, Founder and Past-President of NJSECD, Dr. Maurice Elias, Director of the SECD Lab at Rutgers University and Life-Member of NJASECD, and Dr. Arthur Schwartz, President of  The panel was moderated by Dr. Trusheim. Each panelist spoke on one of the Three C’s – Core Values, SEL Competencies, and Citizenship, making the connection between these concepts and everyday practice in schools. The panel discussion was lively and informative and received rave reviews from our conference attendees.

The remainder of the day consisted of twenty breakout sessions on a wide variety of topics. These sessions dealt with topics including school climate assessment, service-learning practices, tips for applying for SSOC/NSOC, tips for recertifying schools, a preview of the revised Eleven Principles Framework, as well as best practice strategies for the schools and classroom.

The conference was well-attended and based on preliminary results from the conference evaluation forms, attendees felt the sessions were worthwhile and informative. A big “Thank You” goes out to our conference co-chairs Peter Clark, Leigh Cline, Carol Lawrence, and Bill Trusheim and the conference committee for a great job in planning and presenting this year’s conference. We are also indebted to NJPSA/FEA and their Executive Director, Karen Bingert for partnering with us in sponsoring this conference. Their help with the registration process was vital to our success. We also appreciate the contributions of all our presenters who represented their schools and organizations so well by sharing their expertise and experience with all who attended.

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We have already started planning for the 2024 Conference. If your school has a best practice that you would like to share, please consider presenting at our next conference. RFPs will be announced early in the 2024 calendar year. Look for an announcement of the date and conference theme in a future newsletter.