In October, Pennsbury High School assistant principals, Patti Steckroat and Cherrissa Gibson, presented at the 25th annual National Character.org Conference in Washington, D.C. The pair led a breakout session titled, Getting Comfortable with the Uncomfortable: Building Character and Leadership to Promote Positive School Culture.
Ms. Gibson and Ms. Steckroat led a team of teachers and students at Pennsbury High School to earn PHS the recognition as a State and National School of Character in 2016 and have continued to work to improve the school culture at PHS. At the 2018 National Character.org Conference, they facilitated a breakout session workshop that provided participants with a holistic approach to character education at the high school level by highlighting the successes of the Pennsbury PEACE Challenge. A focal point of the breakout session was the PEACE Challenge seminar which Ms. Gibson and Ms. Steckroat implemented at PHS during the 2017–2018 school year.
The PEACE seminar is a monthly practice of holding class discussions with all students focused on the core values of the PEACE Challenge and current events. The seminar is a formal discussion, based on a text, video, or other provided content, in which the teacher asks open-ended questions and facilitates critical thinking on the part of the students. Within the context of the discussion, students listen to the viewpoints and comments of others, think critically, and articulate their own thoughts. The goal of the PEACE Challenge seminar is to teach students to respect the viewpoints of others while developing skills to communicate personal beliefs in a non-confrontational manner, thereby building a community of understanding and support at PHS.