Character Counts!

Character Counts


Josephson Institute, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, administers the national office of CHARACTER COUNTS! (the Center for Youth Ethics). CHARACTER COUNTS! is the most widely implemented approach to character education, reaching millions of youth. CHARACTER COUNTS! is:

  • A framework centered on basic values called the Six Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.
  • Embraced by thousands of schools, communities, public agencies and nonprofit organizations for a simple reason — it works. These groups receive support and development from a national office, which offers training programs, free e-newsletters, resources, products, and free consultation.
  • Nonprofit, not religious or political (though used by both secular and faith-based groups, and supported by public officials of both major parties).
  • Not a curriculum or add-on, but a powerful means to advance curricular and behavioral goals.

The Six Pillars of Character

The CHARACTER COUNTS! approach to character education doesn't exclude anyone. That's why we base our programs and materials on six ethical values that everyone can agree on — values that are not political, religious, or culturally biased. Use the points below to help young people understand the Six Pillars.

Be honest • Don’t deceive, cheat, or steal • Be reliable — do what you say you’ll do • Have the courage to do the right thing • Build a good reputation • Be loyal — stand by your family, friends, and country

Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule • Be tolerant and accepting of differences • Use good manners, not bad language • Be considerate of the feelings of others • Don’t threaten, hit or hurt anyone • Deal peacefully with anger, insults, and disagreements

Do what you are supposed to do • Plan ahead • Persevere: keep on trying! • Always do your best • Use self-control • Be self-disciplined • Think before you act — consider the consequences • Be accountable for your words, actions, and attitudes • Set a good example for others

Play by the rules • Take turns and share • Be open-minded; listen to others • Don’t take advantage of others • Don’t blame others carelessly • Treat all people fairly

Be kind • Be compassionate and show you care • Express gratitude • Forgive others • Help people in need

Do your share to make your school and community better • Cooperate • Get involved in community affairs • Stay informed; vote • Be a good neighbor • Obey laws and rules • Respect authority • Protect the environment • Volunteer


  • CHARACTER COUNTS! will be implemented in all El Rancho Unified School District schools:
  • For additional information on this program contact: Lorraine Jimenez at