Youth Character Development

Program for Schools

HFK helps schools incorporate Coach John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success into their Character Education:

  1. Developing an overall plan with the principal and teacher staff  

  2. School assemblies and classroom presentations on Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success with special guests (positive role models such as Pro athletes, Olympic athletes and College Coaches and their teams)

  3. Book readings of Coach Wooden’s children’s book, Inch and Miles: The Journey to Success

  4. Developing and creating lesson plans and worksheets with teachers

  5. Parent Character Education Night Events

  6. Painting murals of Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success

  7. Reinforcing it through tennis during their physical education classes and recess time. Several schools now have painted 36’ tennis courts in their school yards. The court projects were made possible through HFK’s partnership with the United States Tennis Association (USTA)

  8. Tennis workshops for the teachers on their Professional Development Days to help them learn basic tennis skills              and games that they can do with their students

HFK has also developed strong college partnerships, which

gives HFK the opportunity to bring in top college coaches and

student-athletes to serve as positive role models of all that Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success teaches.

Principal Kanani Choy, Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary School:

Harper for Kids program has been a way for us to meet our school’s mission of guiding the development of a well-rounded human being who has the ability, skills, and attitude to contribute positively to self, family, community, and society. Harper for Kids introduced our entire school community to Coach John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success. Through Coach Wooden’s fifteen block Pyramid of Success, a student can find many entry points to learning skills that are critical to the kind of education they will need to get and stay engaged in school and succeed in life: hard work, friendship, loyalty, cooperation, enthusiasm, determination, action, alertness, self-control, team spirit, skill, fitness, confidence, poise, and  striving to do your personal best which are central to our school’s curriculum and methodology.”

Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary School

For schools and teachers who are interested in learning

more about our school program, please email us.

Principal Sophie Lee, Sunset Elementary School:

"Sunset Elementary works with Harper for Kids to implement Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success, which supports our school’s vision in creating a positive learning environment at our school by deepening the connections among students and staff. Harper for Kids works closely with our teachers to focus on youth character development by providing a variety of educational lessons that address the needs of our students so that they are challenged, work hard, and do their personal best. HFK's program provides the opportunity for our students to be leaders in the decision making process, have control over their own behavior, and be responsible to learn, achieve, and succeed in our school community." 

Sunset Elementary School


Claire Lilienthal Alternative School

Francis Scott Key Elementary School

Principal David Wong, Francis Scott Key Elementary School:

"An effective school is not all about high test scores. It is about how we can balance our students' high academic standards with a continuous development of respectable character, and the Harper for Kids Program provides that. Each of the 15 character traits in Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success, from "friendship" to "confidence," has many important lessons in itself that we can teach about and share from our personal experiences. This program's success relies on our own common belief that strong character leads to personal success in life. 

As a school community, we are always trying to find creative ways to instill character into our students during the school day. We are thankful that HFK has provided each of our teachers a beautiful book and poster from which to teach these essential building blocks to success. In addition, the school wide assemblies, individual classroom visits and tennis workshops (on the three 36’ tennis courts HFK/USTA gave our school) they provide are great resources for our teachers and students. 

And to ‘top’ it all off, a vivid mural of Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success, which is prominently displayed on our school wall, serves as a visual road map and a daily reminder of the keys to success." 

Karen Hadley, Physical Education Teacher/Athletic Director & Coach at Claire Lilienthal School:

“Since our partnership with Harper for Kids began, our school has actively included Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success life skills into our 3rd-8th grade daily curriculum. In my Physical Education and Health classes, my students are using the Pyramid of Success to problem-solve during activities and I am teaching them to use the character traits to reach their goals. With training and guidance from Harper for Kids, we are also reinforcing the life skills from the Pyramid of Success through tennis during Physical Education class. Harper For Kids is an amazing program spreading their words of success and enthusiasm through the Pyramid of Success. I support what they are doing and will partner with them as they continue to be a positive force at Claire Lilienthal School.”

Cordelia Hills Elementary School

Oakland Military Institute

Superintendent Mark P. Ryan, Ph.D., Oakland Military Institute:

"The Harper for Kids organization is the perfect partner for our school. Character development is integral to the OMI program, and Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success is an ideal summary of the paths to character success we want each of our students to follow. The educational programs Tim and Peanut Harper and their friends in the sports world provide are of the highest caliber. They are engaging and make meaningful connections for students. I could not be happier with the partnership and I am very grateful for the many contributions the Harper for Kids organization makes to OMI. The mural the HFK folks did for Oakland Military Institute is prominently used by school staff to reinforce the character principles Coach Wooden instilled in his players. I am constantly hearing staff reference the mural when counseling a cadet about good choices.

Principal Wayne Leach, Bracher Elementary School:

“At Bracher, we want every student to achieve at high levels. John Wooden's Pyramid of Success supports our work in that the blocks represent the character traits that we want our students to demonstrate. Each month we pick a different block (character trait) that teachers use to teach positive behaviors and interactions. Teachers use the Pyramid of Success life lessons to begin their discussions with their students about decision making, choices and actions. We are incorporating John Wooden's ideals into our school climate. As the staff is working to create school wide expectations, awards and consequences, we are keeping the blocks in mind.  

Bracher students were very excited this week to see the Pyramid of Success mural which Harper for Kids painted on the wall in our school yard. Many students shared with me which block was their favorite and why it was special to them. A third grader brought me over to the wall during lunch and said, "Mr. Leach," pointing to the block, "this block says hard work and this week I plan to work very hard on our computer test."   

Working with Harper for Kids these past two years has been a joy! The field trip they helped planned to Stanford, bringing in sports teams from Stanford and Santa Clara, plus experts in their field to talk to our students has been excellent. The students have gained much from these experiences. As we try to create \a college going culture for our K-5 students, all these opportunities put thoughts and plans into young minds. Bracher students know they are going to college, and they will get there by hard work, grit and determination. As principal, I am gratified when I walk classrooms and see students striving to reach their own personal best, supported by a great teaching staff and people like Tim and Peanut Harper.

Bracher Elementary School

Principal Jeff Kubiak, Bracher Elementary School:

Cordelia Hills Elementary School has been working with Harper for Kids to rebuild our dwindling Character Program. With the emphasis of Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success, we have seen quick and tangible results of character improvement amongst our 700 students. As the most diverse school in one of the nation’s most diverse counties, Cordelia Hills is committed to ensuring a safe, nurturing, and academic challenging atmosphere. We thrive on affording students the opportunity to succeed on a daily basis, and with the Pyramid of Success model, it is coming to fruition.

With a strong focus on character building and social development, portrayed in a positive way, the evidence is overwhelming that students thrive more and become college bound more often if these programs are in place. The Harper for Kids program provides our students with leadership, decision making, collaboration, responsibility, and a belief in school community. Students know that success is only measured by one’s ability to work hard and put in your personal best daily.

Tim and Peanut Harper have provided an assembly program with a personal copy of “Inch and Miles” for each staff member, posters of the Pyramid of Success for each classroom, and a personal Pyramid of Success mini poster for each student. This enables each classroom to bring real projects and conversations to life as needed for continued reinforcement and character building. Tim and Peanut have even worked on bringing a mural to life on our school wall, which will give our community the opportunity to model the behaviors we strongly emphasize for our students.

Working with Harper for Kids will now become a part of our Single Plan for Student Success and we look forward to working with them for years to come. I so strongly recommend their program and what they represent and would love to see them in every school across California.”

Chinese Immersion School at De Avila

Principal Rosina Tong, Chinese Immersion School at De Avila:

“We LOVE the HFK program as our students are inspired and aspire to do their personal best. We try to achieve balance as individuals and as a collective. The balance that we strive for includes academic excellence, strong physical health, and social emotional well-being. Harper for Kids supports us in all three of these areas. When we listen to and learn from collegiate athletes, Olympians, professional athletes and learn about their journey in life, we can glean a bit from their experiences and apply it to our own lives. The learnings not only address students’ athletic success, but crosses over to academic success and social emotional well-being. Hip, hip hooray for Harper for Kids and the Pyramid of Success!”

Empowering Children to Succeed in Life

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