James Irwin Charter High School Character Development Program

Annual All-School Retreat
Every year in August, JICHS holds an overnight, all-school retreat at Frontier Ranch, a Young Life camp on Mount Princeton in Buena Vista, Colorado. Underclassmen stay for two days and one night while seniors stay for three days and two nights. Faculty and staff provide supervision while parent volunteers work in the kitchen and dining hall to provide delicious meals. While at Frontier Ranch, students experience team-building activities, personal challenges, and tons of fun all designed to develop character and build strong relationships within the JICHS community. Students are grouped by House and rotate through a variety of activities like the Screamer, high ropes course, House versus House challenges, swimming, game room, character movie and much more. To get a feel for the Frontier Ranch experience, click on this link:

Frontier Ranch 2019

Required Character & Ethics Course
JICHS requires all students to take one semester of Character & Ethics which lays the foundation for moral reasoning and decision-making. Students study The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey and The Character Revolution by Rolfe Carawan. The latter examines Benjamin Franklin’s list of 13 virtues. In addition, students receive training on techniques which support them being successful in building healthy, positive relationships.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens:

  1. Be Proactive – Take responsibility for your life.
  2. Begin with the End in Mind – Define your mission and goals in life.
  3. Put First Things First – Prioritize, and do the most important things first.
  4. Think Win-Win – Have an everyone-can-win attitude.
  5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood – Listen to people sincerely.
  6. Synergize – Work together to achieve more.
  7. Sharpen the Saw – Renew yourself regularly.

Benjamin Franklin’s List of 13 Virtues:

  1. Temperance
  2. Silence
  3. Order
  4. Resolution
  5. Frugality
  6. Industry
  7. Sincerity
  8. Justice
  9. Moderation
  10. Cleanliness
  11. Tranquility
  12. Chastity
  13. Humility

Five Character Pillars
James Irwin Charter High School students are encouraged to follow the Five Character Pillars as guidelines for success in life: Honesty, Integrity, Respect, Responsibility and Excellence. These pillars serves as the foundation for our character development program. Students may earn positive referrals based on the Five Character Pillars as recognition for outstanding behavior.

House System
The JICHS House System supports students by developing a stronger sense of community, belonging, identity, and accountability within our larger student body of over 400 students. The House System develops student responsibility for on and off campus projects and student life events across the student body, rather than relying on a small group of students involved with student government. Each of the 10 Houses has approximately 40 students heterogeneously mixed by grade, gender, GPA and behavior to form a microcosm of student life at JICHS.

Judicial Committee
Any student whose behavior is substandard may receive a citation to appear at the Judicial Committee. The Judicial Committee acts as a type of court system comprised of a few faculty members and several students selected for their outstanding behavior. The role of the Judicial Committee is to determine whether or not an infraction was committed by the student; and, if so what is the appropriate consequence. Once decided, the student is encouraged and challenged by the Judicial Committee to think about how more positive choices can yield much more productive and wiser results.

Positive Classroom Management
Every year, our faculty has over 100 hours of professional development. Part of this crucial training is learning strategies and techniques to encourage productive student behavior in ways that are positive and respectful. Modeling to students a positive attitude and respect for others forms the basis of our success as a school community.

Focus on Personal Responsibility
In an effort to produce outstanding young men and women, JICHS encourages all students to take personal responsibility for their behavior and learning. Students are taught that each individual holds the power for their future and that our own personal choices can create, ignore or destroy opportunity.

Campus-wide Video Cameras
JICHS utilizes a school-wide video camera and recording system to encourage excellent behavior and hold students accountable for their conduct and choices while on campus.

Dress Code
To encourage modesty, self-respect and respect for others, all JICHS students must adhere to a strict dress code so that attention can be properly focused on academics and enjoying the high school experience.

Limited Cell Phone & Personal Electronics
JICHS only allows students to use cell phones and personal electronic devices before school, during passing periods, lunch and afterschool. We believe that students can best relate to others face to face and focus on studying without the distractions of these devices.

Athletic Team Program
JICHS offers a robust athletic program to encourage interpersonal skills and teamwork. Students can participate in baseball, basketball, bowling, cheerleading, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, volleyball, track and field, and wrestling.

Extra-curricular Activities and Clubs
To learn additional skills in relating well with one another and challenging one’s own potential, JICHS students may participate in a wide variety of extra-curricular activities and student interest clubs like music concerts, charity fundraisers, Field Day, community service opportunities, dances, anime, chess, art, novel, speech and debate, Diploma of Distinction, drama, Knowledge Bowl, National Honor Society, Spirit Weeks, and student leadership.