Sixty students from the Round Rock Opportunity Center had the opportunity to participate in a pilot ethics course, sponsored by the Round Rock ISD Partners in Education Foundation earlier this month.
The 90-minute courses were led by RecognizeGood, an Austin-based non-profit organization with a mission to elevate the spirit of community by catalyzing a movement of good deeds and unselfish charity. Other partners include the Round Rock Rotary Club, St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center, The Round Rock Chamber of Commerce and ChangeMatters.
“We are thrilled to partner with RecognizeGood and Round Rock ISD in supporting a new and innovative seminar for the students,” said Marianne Reap, RRISD PIE Foundation executive director. “This movement towards helping students to ‘Stop, Think, Act’ in regard to ethics only further distinguishes the unique programs that Round Rock ISD offers students.
Each session had 20 students and strived to challenge the students’ moral compasses by giving scenarios with multiple variables and talking through the process of healthy decision making.
“This is identifying a critical need for this generation,” said Dr. G.T. Thomas-Tyler, RROC counselor. “For the students that are assigned here, there is so much affected by their decisions, their choices, and of course, at the very bottom of that lies the very issue of ethics.”
Thomas-Tyler has received a large amount of positive feedback from the students who attended the programs, she said. Not only did the honest ethical discussions during the session spark deeper thought in the students, it may even help them be a front-runner for a job or internship.
“With a resume that says, ‘I had an ethics course,’ that’s going to mean something,” Thomas-Tyler said. “Employers are going to look again at the fiber of the individual and the quality that may have been instilled in the person, so it offers benefits in droves.”
A second round of ethics courses will be held for 500 high school students on Saturday, April 25. Students interested will be able to sign up on February 1 through the PIE Foundation website, rrisdeducationfoundation.org. The event will include speakers, t-shirts, giveaways and a summer job fair.
The initial programs are focused on high school students, but Thomas-Tyler said she could see the benefit of expanding the program to elementary and middle school students, who are already capable of discerning from right and wrong.
“I think every child should be exposed to it, even elementary and middle school students, because that’s when the ethical foundation begins,” Thomas-Tyler said. “I could certainly envision the program growing.”