All over the country, schools and students are striving to make a difference within their community, by incorporating culture and character development into their curriculum and every day lives. Though this may seem like an obvious way to raise America’s next generation, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Educating professionals have to go above and beyond to ensure that these initiatives are taken seriously in schools and that programs are put in place to foster today’s youth. Bill Hughes, Chief Academic Officer at Seton Catholic Schools is a perfect example of one such educator.
A public district Superintendent for sixteen years, Hughes is no stranger to the education sector. With an impressive resume, dating back to his time at the University Wisconsin-Madison, Hughes has continued to make great strides in the world of education as well as being a pioneer for the now, monumental character-building programs taking place at Seton Catholic schools in Wisconsin.
“We are an independent non-profit and as a private school management organization, we have employment responsibilities for all staff and faculty that work in our school. We work in each individual Parish so that the Parish’s really maintain the identity of the school, which is really important obviously to the Parish and to the neighborhood and community it serves.”
Although only a couple years old, Seton Catholic schools have been dedicated to their new character building programs. A major way that Seton finds success in building up the moral character of their students is through religious teachings and by adhering to a group of core principle statements that are the foundation of their curriculum.
According to Bill Hughes, “What we look at is, we look very closely at a set of core principles: integrity, responsibility, perseverance, moral judgement, doing the right thing when no one is looking. We also look at the importance of individual struggle and so that people seem to develop character and really show their character when the true struggle is going on and that when people go through difficult times they often look back on that those were defining moments in their lives, so we use literature and frankly religious experiences to show that as a model for kids and then have kids be able to relate back to that in their school settings and their community with their family.”
In addition to fostering their own school programs, Seton also takes it a step further by providing community resources through partnerships with other schools and institutions.
Hughs say “we are building out a network that will eventually include 26 schools, about 8,000 students.”
According to the Seton website, these partnerships bring, “bring expertise, innovation and leadership to our schools that enhance our school environment and encourage achievement amongst our students.”
In a blog on Education Week, Seton was highlighted for its work toward helping the surrounding community of institutions saying, “Seton is helping other religious schools rethink school leadership, providing coaching, supplying regular assessments, offering back-office services, tackling challenges like recruiting and technology, and seeking ways to energize these school’s faith-based mission.”