A quality education for all students includes numerous factors from equitable funding to well-rounded curriculum. But there’s another piece of the puzzle, one that doesn’t scream “education” on the surface: kindness.
Quite simply, students have a much more difficult time learning and getting value from school if they are being harassed, bullied, or regularly punished. Recent reports of discrimination, intolerance, and hostility in schools are alarming. Children should feel safe, accepted, and welcome in school.
About 27% of middle and high school students report seeing hate-related graffiti in school. How can those students focus on nailing down algebraic formulas or practicing verb conjugation when they’re being harassed?
The Middle School Kindness Challenge aims to eradicate this behavior before it can truly take hold. We chose middle school because 31% of 6th graders and 25% of 7th graders report being bullied in school, which is more than for any year of high school. Through a series of classroom activities and schoolwide events, students will practice kind behaviors, such as acceptance of differences, conflict resolution, positive goal-setting, and active listening, and teachers and administrators will foster and celebrate kindness.
The Challenge takes about four weeks to complete, is implemented at no cost, and comes with a helpful dashboard to keep track of progress and give feedback. Schools who complete the Challenge receive national recognition on GreatSchools.org, reduced-price school climate support from leading education organizations, and a $500 Donors Choose credit for the first 500 schools to finish.
Research has shown that school environment is a huge contributing factor to students’ well-being and future potential. If schools across the country participate in the Challenge and wind up with a more welcoming and positive school environment, then it can only help lead to a more successful future for our nation.
You can join our efforts by following along with the Middle School Kindness Challenge on social media, or by bringing it to your school. Our children should be learning science, not slurs. It may seem like a simple idea, but it’s time to make kindness the norm. Don't wait, the last day to register is October 10th. Sign up today!