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Pinnacle Academy Scholars Dig Deeper into Moral Focus

Moral Focus virtues are the backbone of the character-based curriculum at all National Heritage Academies’ schools. Pinnacle Academy is taking extra time to dive further into these characteristics, starting the Moral Focus Club this year.
The club, started by second-grade teacher Sara Hart, sets aside time after school twice per month for scholars to focus on the Moral Focus virtue of the month. Hart plans activities based around that month’s virtue and discusses what living out that virtue looks like.
“I love the framework of Moral Focus,” Hart said. “I wanted the students to have a deeper understanding and meaning of that. I also wanted to focus more on going outside and into our community to perform acts of service.”
The club certainly achieved that goal in November when Hart and scholars wrote thank you notes to service members, living out November’s Moral Focus virtue of gratitude. The club is planning more acts of service for upcoming months.
Students with personalized cups
Each meeting begins with a snack and a discussion about the Moral Focus virtue of the month.

Each meeting begins with a snack and an open discussion about that month’s virtue. Scholars then go into themed activities meant to be physical representations of the lessons Hart aims to teach.
January’s activities taught perseverance through a stack of cups and some lemons. The first activity was to race against a clock stacking cups into a pyramid. Cups kept falling with every attempt, but scholars persevered through challenges to complete the pyramids.

Student stacking cups
These hands-on activities show scholars a physical representation of Moral Focus. In the case of cup stacking, scholars had to persevere through their stacks falling down.

The second activity in January saw scholars take lemons and turn them into lemonade, literally. Hart took them through the process from start to finish. Teaching these lessons in a hands-on format is one of the many reasons Pinnacle has outperformed the local district for the past two years.
“We talked about how when we have lemonade, sometimes it doesn't turn out right,” Hart said. “Some things we do don't turn out right. But, in the case of lemonade, we add more sugar or lemons or water, and they made it better. We then discussed it in real life terms. How can we make things better if we have a problem?”
The club started out small in its first year, limited to second, third, and fourth graders, and will be expanded to more grade levels down the line. Efforts to go into the community and clean up the area surrounding the school are in the works for the spring.
Hart said she has seen her Moral Focus Club scholars excel during class when she teachers Moral Focus lessons. She has also seen one of the club’s students have better behavior throughout the school day.
Keep up the great work, Ms. Hart!

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About Pinnacle Academy
Pinnacle Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Euclid, Ohio, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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