A Simple Way to Make Someone’s Day

With bullying reaching epidemic proportions, spreading kindness seems to be more important than ever before. The Dawes School learning community is built on the foundation of tolerance and respect for individual differences, so the Middle School Kindness Challenge aligned perfectly with the standard we try to set for our students every day.

Principal Mary Dixon selected compliments as the theme of our challenge. Teachers, staff, and community members were able to nominate any student seen displaying an act of kindness by writing their name on a slip of paper and putting it into our Kindness Box. Every Friday, we shared the acts of kindness over the schoolwide announcements.
Giving a compliment or saying one kind word is such a simple way to make another person feel good about an aspect of him or herself.
The students liked how they felt when they were recognized doing an act of kindness and were eager to learn how to be nominated. To include our parents further in the challenge, we frequently posted on Twitter so they could stay informed about the progress.

The Kindness Challenge had a profound impact on student academic growth, social emotional learning, and increased the level of student security in the school environment. Students were more respectful of each other, seemed to smile more, and had more positive interactions with their peers. There was also a reduction in behavior referrals.

Schools need to teach kindness because students must learn to understand and share the feelings of others in order to work cooperatively on tasks and assignments, both socially and academically. Without a safe learning environment, teachers cannot teach, and students cannot learn. Kindness is a tool that builds both academic and social success.