In January, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson issued a challenge to California schools to show kindness to one another, and participate in what’s called the Great Kindness Challenge. Students, teachers and staff spent a week (or more) spreading kindness in a multitude of ways, expressing appreciation for each other and their schools. This was an amazing opportunity to empower everyone in Union School District and promote a school culture of respect, compassion and unity.
Classrooms were filled with evidence of Kindness Challenge activities, with students displaying notes and drawings of so many random acts of kindness they researched and performed. Students at one site held a parade in honor of their custodians, and students and teachers alike showed their appreciation to office staff members. A class adapted a card game into a kindness game, showing kindness “missions” they could achieve. District office personnel stopped by the schools for a “Recess Take-Over,” helping teachers with yard duty during recess and breaks. We heard so many students say they were excited to continue beyond the one week, and seeing students and teachers take on this challenge and communicating kindness in different ways has been eye-opening, reinforcing the values we hold dear at Union.
With Valentine’s Day approaching, I challenge all of our students, teachers, staff and community members to continue the wonderful commitment started during the Kindness Challenge in January. Showing each other appreciation with even the smallest acts truly strengthens communities, schools, and relationships with people.