A. The board of education of every school district in this state may develop and implement a comprehensive program for character education in any single grade or combination of grades, prekindergarten through twelfth. The character education program shall focus on development of character traits in students. The program of character education may include, but shall not be limited to, the voluntary reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.
B. The State Department of Education shall develop and make available to all school districts through an Internet website, the following:
1. Technical assistance upon request of a school district;
2. A list of approved research-based character education programs, curricula, and materials which may be used by school districts;
3. A character education honor roll that will recognize school districts that have successfully implemented a comprehensive school-district-wide program of character education and will highlight the positive impacts the program has had on each school or school district; and
4. A character education reading list of books that may include, but is not limited to, books that illustrate models of good character and books that relate to the development of good character traits that may be used by schools in a character education program.
C. Subject to the availability of funding, the State Board of Education may award grants to ten school districts for the establishment of pilot projects which align character education with the state curriculum in reading, mathematics, science or social studies and demonstrate how character education teaches life skills that lead to career readiness. The amount of each grant shall be One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00). The projects shall be innovative programs that will serve as models for other school districts. Funding may cover the cost of purchasing curriculum, materials, or training teachers. The Board shall determine pilot project criteria and establish a process for the consideration of proposals. The proposals for pilot projects shall be considered on a statewide competitive basis. The Board shall promulgate rules for the operation of the projects.