A significant element of the LACE™ professional development experience is the LACE™ Curriculum. It is comprised of a set of monthly assigned written reflections. Each month every LACE™ participant is required to write a response to that month's "assignment." There are critical aspects of this process:
- The assignments are sequenced to build upon each other.
- The assignments are semi-modular so they together comprise the basis for a site-specific implementation plan. This plan is the final piece of work to be submitted for completion of LACE™.
- The assignments are expected to be done collaboratively with a site-specific character education leadership team. The formation of the team is part of the first assignment. It is expected that each month the team will meet to read, reflect on, and respond to that month's assignment. (NOTE: This is designed to create a collaborative leadership style for the participant.
- Each submitted written assignment leads to detailed written feedback by the LACE™ Director(s). The feedback is largely constructive criticism. (NOTE: This is primary means of providing expert mentoring by the LACE™ Directors.) The participant is expected to share the feedback with the Leadership Team, reflect on it collaboratively, and then revise the assignment accordingly (for inclusion in the final implementation plan).
The assignments have evolved over time, but the core topics are:
- A report on the history, context, and demographics of the school (or district)
- The make-up, justification, and functioning of the character education leadership team.
- A critical analysis of all relevant mission, vision, and values statements. The focus is on whether they adequately prioritize character development as an outcome and character education as a pedagogy.
- An audit of the current character education-relevant assets, gaps and obstacles in the school/district
- A survey of the staff climate
- An analysis of the level of involvement of a wide range of stakeholder groups, plus a plan for improving each.
- A list of established, new, planned, and desired implementation strategies. These are related to key elements of effective character education
- A sustainability plan
- An assessment plan