A Brief Training for Horace Mann Agents:

Once you have viewed this training video, please continue reading below, and come back often for updates.



4 Step Recap:

1. Download “School Administrator” video (link below) and be prepared to show it to your school administrator
2. Download a “Partnership Agreement Form” (link below) and take it with you to your school.
3. Call on your school! (It may take a second visit; the first, to set an appointment.)
4. Fax the signed form to 903-586-4418, or scan as a PDF and email it to info@TheCharacterNetwork.org

View School Administrator Introduction to the Program Here:
(Download for your device below.)

Click here to download Introduction Video for your School Administrator

Click here to Download Printable 2016-2017 Partnership Agreement Form FOR SCHOOL


Program Samples for your viewing:
(More available under “Our Programs” in the left-hand menu bar)

Bully Alert (Sample)

The Beginning of a Hero (Sample)

A Reflection of Your Future (Sample)


Objections and Rebuttals:

Objection – “We already have a character education curriculum in place.”
Rebuttal – “That’s great! At least half of the schools using this program do as well. This program can certainly work as a stand-alone, or in conjunction with (actually increasing the value of) whatever else you may be using.”

Objection – “We just don’t have time.”
Rebuttal – “Completely understood! Schedule overload seems to be a way of life for all of us! But this program takes a grand total of FOUR MINUTES A WEEK! And you will be surprised by how quickly your students will pick up the language of the program, and it gives you the same language to use in teachable moments. It has been proven time and again that if you play these stories just twice a week for all students and adults on campus to hear, and play them enthusiastically, using its academic language in teachable moments, it will completely change the attitude among your students in just FOUR MINUTES A WEEK!”

Objection – “We have to be very careful about how we define ‘Bullying.'”
Rebuttal – “Oh, we know! Much of what was once called “bullying” has now been reduced to “JUST” bad behavior or hurtful behavior. Well, these stories address ALL of the above, and we very rarely actually CALL someone a bully. Instead, we say he or she is “acting like a bully,” or “this is something a bully would do.” Many times the stories don’t address bullying at all, rather “bad or hurtful behavior.” But ALL of the stories offer POSITIVE alternatives, and work to create a much more peaceful learning environment, thus encouraging discouraged teachers to STAY on the job!”

Objection – “We don’t have any bullying on our campus.” (Yeah right…and yes, you will hear this occasionally!)
Rebuttal – “One of the two sets of stories is indeed titled, ‘Bully Alert,’ and it does indeed address bullying, but it is SO much more. Along with ‘The Beginning of a Hero,’ it identifies a great variety of negative behaviors, attitudes, and thought processes. But it also clearly offers POSITIVE alternatives, and helps students learn to place value on relationships AND on their own FUTURE-selves!” Yes, this is a Bully-Prevention program, but it also instills “POSITIVE PERSONAL VISION,” and encourages PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. You may not have a lot of bullying (by more recent definitions) but you certainly want a more peaceful environment, better test scores, and happy teachers!”

Objection – “Our kids just don’t listen!” (The program may not work under this administrator, but it’s worth a try!)
Rebuttal – “That’s why a consistent OFF CAMPUS voice is effective, especially since it is heard in a story-telling format. Plus the science behind it (other than story-telling being a highly effective method of communicating a message) is the consistent, but SPACED-REPETITION of that message. The stories are different, one from another, but the message is the same.”

NOTE: If the principal rules with an iron fist and uses bullying tactics in his or her leadership, just move on…the program won’t work on that campus! Unfortunately, you will run across that occasionally.


What does The Character Network do?
The Character Network provides a collection of proactive bully prevention and character development programs, teaching PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY and “POSITIVE PERSONAL VISION” for students in Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade. The program distinguishes itself from the many others available in that its positive and dramatic effectiveness is documented, AND it is extremely simple for schools to adopt and implement.

Why is this important?
According to the U.S. Department of Education, on any given school day, 160,000 students nationwide stay home for fear of being bullied. Teen and pre-teen suicides are at an all-time high because of bullying. Whether it is outright “bullying,” hurtful behavior, or “just” bad behavior in general, negative behavior in or around the school setting makes teaching (and learning) much more difficult than it should be. We are losing great teachers in alarming numbers because of burnout, not to mention the declining quality of education for our next generation. The Character Network is committed to helping in all these areas.

How do schools use this program?
It couldn’t be easier! At the beginning of each new school year, each sponsored school receives a set of audio CDs containing short recorded stories. The stories are played over the school intercom two mornings a week, along with the morning announcements. Through storytelling and the science of “spaced repetition,” the ideas are reinforced regularly. Students and teachers alike look forward to the messages. The CD sets contain enough stories to last the entire school year, and a new set is delivered with new stories for the next year. While most schools using the audio CDs play them over the intercom, the program is also available in video format for those schools that have a classroom TV network for announcements.

Does this program work?
Absolutely! Hundreds of schools have already launched these programs, and many, many powerful and positive testimonials have been received back from principals, teachers, counselors, students, and parents. Additionally, the effectiveness of the programs have been documented through a university study and through comprehensive surveys of participating schools. The consistent result has been a documented decline in bullying incidents, a documented improvement in student behavior, and perhaps most importantly, a 100% recommendation for the program by schools already using it! See: http://thecharacternetwork.org/testimonials/

What are these stories about?
The flagship program, ideal for elementary campuses K-6, is “The Beginning of a Hero / Bully Alert.” “The Beginning of a Hero,” typically played on Tuesday, is a series of two-minute stories. The program spotlights famous people of great accomplishment in helping others—the people we call “heroes!” Just as these heroes started out planting seeds of accomplishment in their childhoods, the program encourages young listeners to consider their own futures by following the examples presented in these stories. The “Bully Alert” stories are typically played on Thursday morning, and rather than focusing on famous heroes, they focus on the lives, attitudes, and actions of regular school children. While most of these “Bully Alert” stories are fictional, they portray very realistic scenarios about students making poor choices resulting in hurtful actions toward others (including hurting feelings). Then either they, or others in the stories make better choices, deciding to be “heroes” (who HELP others) rather than “bullies” (who hurt others).

The repetition of “HEROES HELP” and “BULLIES HURT” throughout both sets of stories creates a powerful campus wide language that schools have found very effective in dealing with disciplinary situations. By adopting this same language with the students, they will all know the answer to the question, “Do you want to be a hero or a bully?”

There is an additional program for the Preschool though Kindergarten ages called “The Beginning of Little Heroes.” This program is similar to the elementary program but contains language and stories more age appropriate for these early-childhood students. The “Little Heroes” stories also include a sing-along song that reinforces the message of choosing to be a hero. “The Beginning of LITTLE Heroes” can be played in the early-childhood classrooms as a supplement to “The Beginning of a Hero / Bully Alert” on elementary campuses, or school-wide on the intercom for schools that serve ONLY the primary grades.

Finally, “A Reflection of Your Future” is a program for middle school and high school students. These segments include one-minute messages encouraging students to make positive choices today that will affect their future lives. Topics range from goal setting to financial responsibility, building positive relationships, good health habits, and many more.

Will there be any objections to the program?
Most campuses are delighted to use this program but there are two common initial concerns you may hear which are easily addressed. First, you may hear that the school already has a character development or bully prevention program. Unlike some other programs which involve a lot of training, time commitment, and a complex curriculum, this program is simple to adopt, simple to use, and simple to stick with. If the school can spare JUST FOUR MINUTES PER WEEK and press play twice a week on a CD, the students and teachers can enjoy all the great benefits without any extra effort. Also, many campuses use these programs as a complement or add-on in addition to another program such as “Character Counts.”

Another objection you might hear is that laws have changed, and bullying is defined in much narrower terms than in the past (i.e. a repeated act by the same perpetrator against the same victim). It is true that state legislatures have attempted to define “bullying” in these terms, but that in no way conflicts with The Character Network programs. By teaching a “positive personal vision,” these programs discourage “bad behavior” and “hurtful behavior” up to and including bullying. Also, to avoid any potential conflicts with these narrow “bully” definitions, none of these stories ever actually calls someone a “bully,” but instead uses language such as “He was acting like a bully” or “That’s something a bully would do.”

How does this help Horace Mann Agents?
Consistent with the other Horace Mann marketing efforts, the idea here is that by presenting this program to your campus as a free gift from your agency, you will strengthen existing relationships and hopefully open doors to new campuses where access has been challenging.

For your campuses to make use of The Character Network programs, they need a “site license” which authorizes the use of any and all of these audio and video programs for one academic year. The normal retail price for this site license is $720 per school, per academic year. However, through a special Horace Mann negotiated discount, we are able to offer these licenses at $259 each, or $200 each when an agent purchases 5 or more licenses for his area.