Milton Hershey School has been awarded a Promising Practice designation from Character.org for its home life curriculum, The Compass Project. MHS was among 326 other Promising Practice schools, districts and youth-serving organizations recognized across the country.
Milton Hershey School designed a multifaceted home life curriculum called The Compass Project to build students’ character and leadership skills inside and outside the classroom. Teachers, houseparents and staff promote values such as positivity, integrity, perseverance and global awareness through hands-on lessons and practical strategies.
“Milton Hershey School is honored to receive recognition for our character and leadership development program, The Compass Project,” MHS Social and Emotional Learning Curriculum Supervisor Deanna Slamans said. “It is a true testament to the creative ways our houseparents, teachers and staff are collaborating to enhance students’ understanding of core social and emotional learning skills.”
Character.org selected programs and best practices that represent practical, effective ways to inspire empathy, conflict resolution and good citizenship among students. This year’s winning national practices include anti-bullying programs, strategies for developing student leadership and community-building activities.
Milton Hershey School will be recognized as a 2016 Promising Practice recipient at the National Forum on Character Education in Washington, D.C. in October.
Current president of Milton Hershey School, a cost-free residential school and home to more than 2,000 students from low income backgrounds, is a 1985 graduate.
As a student, Gurt was a member of several organizations, including the National Honor Society, and he served as Student Body President. He went on to earn a degree in business administration from Temple University and a master’s degree in education from The Pennsylvania State University.
At Milton Hershey School, Gurt has served in a variety of roles, from vice president of student life to chief operating officer. As president, he has increased enrollment and created an ambitious vision for the school. This includes finding new ways to support young graduates, creating more opportunities for parent/sponsor engagement, and enhancing professional development for employees.
In 2014, Gurt received an Alumni Achievement Award from the School of Behavioral Sciences and Education at Penn State Harrisburg for his dedication to educating children from families of lower income. He also was named Administrator of the Year in 2009 by the Coalition of Residential Education (CORE).
When Peter Gurt became the president of Milton Hershey School in 2014, he brought with him a plan for the future of the school. The 2020 Vision is the school’s five-year strategic plan.
President Gurt’s 2020 Vision calls for expanding the school’s historic mission of providing a cost-free, residential education of the highest quality to children from low-income backgrounds.The plan is built on three major goals: cultivate strength of character and deliver a top-notch education; expand our mission; and ignite staff engagement and exceptional performance.
Within the 2020 Vision, employees are more than teachers, houseparents and support staff – they are an extended family of mentors and a safety net for the children. By encouraging employees to build meaningful connections with students, it will ensure that each child has an adult on campus who will help guide them to success.
LeadX is a yearly conference that brings together and inspires promising young leaders. Students from many schools and backgrounds participate in the event, including students from Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Students and young leaders presented on such topics as the qualities of leaders and the impact one can have on the world. One student from the Milton Hershey School gave a speech about the power of one person.
Past LeadX conferences have featured many celebrity speakers, including former President Bill Clinton, and Ann Herrmann-Nehdi, the CEO and president of Herrmann International. Speech subjects have included everything from thinking agility to the science of leadership.
The conference aims to bring individuals from business, schools, and various industries together to learn, network, and further develop their leadership skills through speakers, roundtables, and focused workshops. At a conference of leaders, awards also are given for many achievements, including the Top Future Leader Award, Best Mentoring Program, and Best Corporate University, among others.