Common Ground Button

The idea for the Theme could come from many different places.  The source of the idea shifted and changed through the years depending on many factors.  It depended on how engaged the school staff were in the character development program as sometimes a directive from your principal or the teacher in your school brought an idea forward.  At times the idea aligned with something the Ministry of Education was promoting, or an idea our Board was championing.  Often it was an idea that was an inspiration from the students, particularly when there was a vibrant active Character Development Club.

‘Our Common Ground’ was based on a Ministry of Education of Ontario document on Character Development released in 2008. During that year the entire Board was tasked with developing defining virtues for our board. The student leaders working with me at the high school were able to create an event that trained all the other schools to collaboratively choose the virtues they felt students needed. Each high school with its family of elementary schools did this and then all of those virtues were clustered together.  It was from them that the Board choose the top 10 virtues that represented all of us in the Board.


‘I see the world with…’ was a student’s inspiration and the poster was created by another student.  It was her inspiration to create t-shirts with ‘I see the world with…’ on the front and then have a virtue of your choice printed on the back which was awesome because it allowed students to print those virtues in English, French or Anishnaebek (The Language of the First Nations peoples who attended the school), which allowed for some language revitalization work.


‘Right Here, Right Now’ was a favourite phrase of a principal new to the high school who wanted to affect change for the better and called all the students to focus on the present moment.


When the program was just developing, often the idea for the theme just came from myself as I looked at what was happening in the school community at the moment.  The theme often answers the question; ‘what is it about now?’   ‘What do we need right now?’


The theme needs to be situated in the context of your school community and what that community is experiencing as a whole at that moment.  The theme always seeks to consider what the students need within that context to be successful at high school.  As much as possible the Virtues Project™ theme of the year is a collaborative decision when that’s not possible, take the lead and go with your intuition.