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Expert: Character education helps students

By By Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
Aug. 9, 2001
A California expert in character education said Wednesday that three fundamentals help lead students toward a successful life.
Dr. Hal Urban, a pioneer in the field of character education, identified the elements as a positive attitude, respect for other people and hard work.
Urban was in Meridian Wednesday to address school district personnel, community leaders and parents on the importance of character education. The Meridian Public School District has been a pilot program for character education since 1999 after receiving a grant from the state department of education to implement the program.
Students are taught the basics of good character by focusing on a different trait each month.
Urban is a high school teacher and part-time university instructor in the San Francisco Bay area. He teaches social studies, U.S. history, American government and psychology at Woodside High School and a series of organizational behavioral courses at the University of San Francisco.
Urban's day began by speaking to bus drivers at 7 a.m. At 8 a.m. he addressed faculty, staff, administration and community and government leaders, who were invited to hear him at the high school, followed by more comments for the district's cafeteria workers and then a luncheon with school counselors and administrators at Union Station. Urban concluded his engagement with parents in the Magnolia Court Housing Development, where a Parents As Teachers center is housed.
Urban spoke about the importance of manners. "Our society has taken a real nose dive in that area in recent years for a variety of reasons," Urban said. "We really need to work on teaching kids manners and civility and common courtesy."
Urban also sold copies of his book while in Meridian. "Life's Greatest Lessons: 20 Things I Want My Kids to Know," outlines his philosophy on character development. The book was the winner of the Writer's Digest 2000 National Inspirational Book of the Year award.
Urban earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in American history and his doctorate in education/psychology from the University of San Francisco.
Steve Gillespie is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3233, or e-mail him at sgillespie@themeridianstar.com.

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