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Independence Elementary named 2023 Missouri School of Character

Independence Elementary named 2023 Missouri School of Character

The Francis Howell School District is proud to announce that Independence Elementary School has been named a 2023 Missouri School of Character.

The Francis Howell School is among 73 schools nationally to earn State School of Character distinction this year, along with two Districts of Character. 

This is the third time Independence Elementary has earned the prestigious recognition as a School of Character. In 2013 and 2018 the school was named a Missouri School of Character and a National School of Character.

Schools named a State School of Character hold the designation for five years and are eligible to be evaluated for National School of Character. If a school is designated a National School of Character, they also hold that designation for five years. National Schools of Character are announced annually in May.

Principal Dr. Emily Pavia intends to apply for national recognition and is overjoyed and proud of everybody at Independence. Pavia says that character is a huge part of what sets Independence Elementary apart from other schools.

"It truly is a blessing to get to serve in a community that is so committed to not just focusing on academics, but also helping all humans to grow in their own character journey," said Principal Emily Pavia. "We have been on our character journey for many years and I feel most fortunate during my tenure in serving as the Principal to be able to help champion this work along with staff and families. At the close of the day, the biggest responsibility is helping students develop and grow their character to be successful and to be able to achieve their hopes and dreams in life."

Criteria for selection are based on’s 11 Principles Framework for Schools. The Framework includes key indicators on creating a caring school community where everyone feels they belong, providing students with opportunities to practice and reflect on their character strengths, and engaging families and communities as partners in the school’s character initiative.

Independence Elementary is among 13 schools in Missouri -- and only six elementary schools in the state -- selected for this prestigious recognition.

In all, two Francis Howell schools have been named State Schools of Character, and both have been recognized at the national level for their focus on strong character development. In 2007, Francis Howell Middle School (FHMS) earned the honor of being named a Missouri School of Character. In 2008, FHMS was honored with the distinction of being named a National School of Character by the Character Education Partnership.