Social Curriculum

Honor Code and Character Traits

The Bishop Walker School seeks to instill in its students the highest possible sense of integrity and ethical behavior. Believing that young children benefit most from such positive encouragement, and that they generally want to do what is right, the school strives, through the Honor Code, to reinforce positive values and encourage a sense of pride in each student for having adhered to high standards. Each day at school, all members of the BWS community say these words:

“I am a child of God created in His image.
Therefore, I am respectful to others and myself.
I am responsible for my actions, words, and work.
I am honest and am above cheating, stealing or lying.”

In addition to the Honor Code, we have adopted the six character traits from Character Counts as the pillars of our social curriculum. A Bishop Walker School student both values and embodies RESPECT, CARING, TRUSTWORTHINESS, FAIRNESS, CITIZENSHIP, and RESPONSIBILITY. To reinforce these traits, units of study are taught in each grade to build a strong foundation for solid character development. In addition, monthly community gatherings are held in each division to celebrate these objectives.

Responsive Classroom®

At the Bishop Walker School, we are committed to developing the whole child. Like the education reformer John Dewey, BWS believes that moral education cannot be separate from an intellectual education because they are one. In order to realize this belief, we use Responsive Classroom strategies. These strategies teach our students a set of social skills which they need in order to find academic and social success. Below are the guiding principles of the Responsive Classroom approach. More information including research can be found at their website,

Responsive Classroom® Guiding Principles
  • The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.
  • How children learn is as important as what they learn: Process and content go hand in hand.
  • The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
  • To be successful academically and socially, children need to learn and practice specific social skills. Five particularly important skills are cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.
  • Knowing the children we teach - individually, culturally, and developmentally - is as important as knowing the content we teach.
  • Knowing the families of the children we teach is as important as knowing the children we teach.
  • How we, the adults at school, work together is as important as our individual competence. Lasting change begins with the adult community.