Improving school climate with everyday kindness
October 31, 2017
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
While it is important to stand for your values and be competitive, a person who aims to be kind is neither weak nor acquiescent. In fact, the ability to be kind is an often unappreciated superpower. You can be as competitive, accomplished, assertive, and self-aware as anyone while still showing the world that you have a good heart - literally! Acts of kindness improve heart health, reduce stress, and lengthen your life.
Especially if it's in the midst of a difficult situation or frustrating day, bringing someone up instead of tearing them down means displaying wisdom as well as the emotional fortitude to remember that everyone in the world has unique problems and personalities.
One act of kindness can easily improve someone’s mood so much that it sets off a community-wide chain reaction of positive interaction. To start, take a moment to consider a problem that someone in your life might have. If there is nothing you can physically do to change their situation, then offer a few words of emotional kindness instead. You can find a toolkit, posters, handouts, and great examples of everyday kindness in school, such as “No Name Calling Week”, at www.everyday-kindness.org.
Kicking off the kindness campaign
In 2016, inspired by Anaheim City School District’s 2014 One Million Acts of Kindness project, ACSA and Keenan Associates sponsored the even larger Everyday Kindness Campaign. The goal? To inspire students to challenge themselves and spread thousands of small acts of kindness throughout their school and community.
To find proactive, enthusiastic leaders for the project, ACSA reached out administrators like Superintendent/Principal Janet “Dr. J” Skulina, who told the Oakdale Leader,
“I wanted to do something structured related to positive behavior interventions… we have very few issues with student behavior, but there are times when unkind words lead to hurt feelings and more unkind words. When I saw the Everyday Kindness program, it seemed perfect: simple, positive and focused on the big picture of school wide positive behavior intervention.”
The campaign asked students to think about how they could become better listeners and think back to moments when they were shown a kindness that made their day. The call to action was for the students to write down the acts of kindness or community service that they perform and submit them to the everyday kindness website.
The positive future of kindness
Keenan has worked to protect schools and children since 1972. Another one of Keenan's underlying goals for the Everyday Kindness Campaign has been to improve school climate by fighting against cases of bullying, violence, and vandalism. “At the national level, the introduction of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports has created a need to track and reward positive behaviors, which aligns perfectly with the intent of the Everyday Kindness tools,” said Jeffrey Mizokawa, Assistant Vice President and Project Manager at Keenan.
Mr. Mizokawa also told ACSA: “The results of the campaign were nothing short of amazing. The participating schools experienced reduced disciplinary referrals, reduced suspensions, increased school spirit, newfound community connectedness, and the growth of a culture of kindness among its students. The achievements even caught the attention of the Dalai Lama, who personally praised and congratulated the students on their efforts toward ensuring world peace.”
You can learn more about school climate and other modern education administration topics, as well as reach out to other leaders regarding best practices, at ACSA’s excellent personal development events, trainings, and workshops. ACSA even has a mentorship program that is free to members. The Association serves over 18,000 California educators and seeks leaders who care about closing education gaps, bettering the professional education community, and advocating for local and national issues.