Have you walked through the lobby of Kennedy Middle School lately? If you have, I am sure you have noticed the giant “ROAR Board” between the gym hallway and the auditorium. Two years ago, at the request of two students, a contest was held for a school slogan. The students submitted their ideas, which were then voted on by the student body. “ROAR” was the winner and became the focus for the school’s recognition program. “ROAR” stands for:
- Offer Support
- Are Kind
The “ROAR” program started back in October with the main purpose being to recognize students for their positive actions. Judging from the size of the “Roar Board,” the program has been a big hit this year! “Students seem to enjoy being recognized in this way” stated Kelly Morin, one of Kennedy’s Guidance Councilors who helped institute this program. Paw slips can be written out by any staff member and will include the students name and a brief description of their actions. The paw slips are color coded by grade as follows:
- 8th grade- Red
- 7th grade- Green
- 6th grade- Blue
- 5th grade- Purple
At the end of the week, each student that received a paw slip has their name read during the morning announcements. At the end of the month, all students are entered into a raffle where they could win prizes such as an ice cream sundae party, pizza party and prize bags. There is one winner per grade each month.
Of course, the students are fully engaged in the program by both helping in the administration of the program and by performing acts of kindness as well. They are showing their Cougar Pride and Spirit everyday! Can’t wait to see the “ROAR” board come June……
written by Shelley Juppe, Kennedy (and Brown) parent
Did you know that the students at Brown Elementary are filling their bucket? Based on the #1 best selling children’s book, “How Full is Your Bucket?,” by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer, Brown has created its own bucket. The students learned from a character in that story, a boy named Felix, that you that can make another person feel more positive or negative by your actions. Felix learns that it is like we have invisible buckets over our heads. When our bucket is full, we feel happy and great. When our bucket is empty, we feel sad. Making someone feel more positive is like filling their bucket, while being unkind or negative causes their bucket to drip and drain. In the story, Felix learns that when you are kind to others, you not only fill their buckets, you fill yours as well!
At Brown, if anyone is seen showing an act of kindness, they receive a drop stating their act and it is placed in the bucket in the lobby of the school. This is a concrete measure for kids to see these acts and they take so much pride in receiving a drop. At the end of the school year, once the bucket is full, the students will receive their drops to take home.
The collaboration on this project within the school is evident. Last year, music teacher Mark Jodice wrote a song about filling your bucket. The students at Brown have all learned this song and it is sung during their yearend concerts. They take so much pride in this song, it is great watching them perform it.
In conjunction with the bucket project, Building Support Facilitator Karen Fossett, has started a “bucket” program with all of the 3rd graders at Brown. Any 3rd grader that is seen performing a random act of kindness (from opening a door for someone or helping with a lunch tray to being considerate to others while they eat) receives a ticket. Each Monday, 4 tickets are pulled out of the bucket and the winner is treated to a special lunch with two friends. The tickets are then displayed on the bulletin board in the cafeteria.
Brown School has done a tremendous job in helping their students recognize the importance of helping others feel good about themselves. Keep up the great work and we hope to see your bucket overflowing by June!!
written by Shelley Juppe, Brown (and Kennedy) parent
A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be asked to speak to an all school assembly at Ben-Hem Elementary about “KINDNESS COUNTS!” Principal Ian Kelly and Vice Principal Ben Gatto asked me to come, and I was so impressed by how quickly and quietly the teachers assembled 500 kids into one area.
The students had been meeting by grade in the past weeks to talk about kindness and other social competency skills. Vice Principal Ben Gatto has been reading them books about the value of community and freindship like “Stone Soup” and “Zen Ties” by Jon Muth and “Hunter’s Best Friend at School,” by Laura Elliott.
When I met with the students, I told them that I represented adults in the community as part of our Anti-Bullying Coalition. I asked them who thought kindness was important. All hands went up (including teachers)! Then I asked them who thought that being kind was sometimes difficult and most hands went up again (including mine and all of the adults in the room).
I told them that adults agreed that kindness was indeed very important but not always easy. ”So why am I here?” I asked. ”Guess who is going to teach our community about how to be KIND and how to be a GOOD FRIEND?” ”WE ARE!!,” yelled a chorus of students sitting cross legged on the floor.
I then proceeded to go around the room and hear from child after child about what it means to be a good friend. Answers ranged from “bringing your friend with a bloody nose to the nurse,” to “standing up for a friend who has been bullied.” The students had so many examples of how they could be a good friend that I had to finally cut them off because of time. It is clear that this is something that they have been thinking about and they have wonderful (and very specific!) insights.
I finished by telling them about the KINDNESS COUNTS contest and that they could submit poems, essays or art about the topic of “What it means to be a good friend.” The students seemed happy and excited about this. But when I told them that the winners would be on TV (Natick Pegasus)– that was when I saw the biggest smiles!
Thank you to Principal Ian Kelly, Vice Principal Ben Gatto and the staff and students of Ben-Hem Elementary for allowing me to visit. Can’t wait to see all of the students entries for KINDNESS COUNTS!
Last week marked the launch of the “Born this Way Foundation” by Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, at Harvard University. Lady Gaga, who now has over 20 million followers on twitter, has joined forces with prominent thinkers and researchers to form what she calls a “youth empowerment foundation.” The goal? ”‘I want it to become cool to become an aware person’ aware of the people around us and their needs, and standing up for them” quotes internet safety expert Anne Collier, who was at the launch to hear Lady Gaga speak. In short, Lady Gaga wants to show that it is cool to be KIND.
Teenagers are not always known for their kindness, which is not entirely fair. In my experience, it is our young people who often have the greatest fire to change the world. Lady Gaga isn’t creating a culture of youth kindness — she is empowering, enhancing and recognizing what is already there.
Similarly, in Natick, there are many teenagers who have given up some of their precious free time to serve each other and the community. KINDNESS COUNTS would like to thank them and their teachers and advisors at the High School. Here are a few recent examples of kindness by Natick High School students:
- During February vacation, 3 student members of the NHS Earth Club joined Big Heart Little Feet’s initiative to clean up West Hill Park and Fiske Pond. (Check out Big Heart Little Feet’s website for their great work!)
- Many students in National Honor Society are giving up their “privs” and tutoring freshmen students who need academic support or help with organizational skills.
- Some Natick High School students are part of the Junior Medical Reserve Corps. Natick is the only town in the Commonwealth to have a Junior Division of the Medical Reserve Corps. The students have received training in CPR and First Aid and Epi Pen admininstration. They assisted in the orchestration of the Natick Flu Clinics. The students attend monthly meetings under the direction of Kathy Sassonoff and Christine Rich, who are members of Natick’s Adult Medical Reserve Corp.
This is a short list compared to all of the good work done by our Natick High School Students. Though this work is not new — our awareness of it may be. The goal of KINDNESS COUNTS is to let the community in on the secret that many of our students are changing the world for the better. We can all help them by recognizing their contributions. Well done and keep it going!
(Information courtesy of Sharon Greenholt, NHS guidance, and “Students of the Week,” by Colleen McAuley, assistant to Principal Rose Bertucci) If you have any information about works of KINDNESS by high schoolers or others, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, high schoolers and all students — preschool through high school — are encouraged to participate in our Kindness Counts! campaign (deadline April 2). For details, check “about” page on this blog. Thank you!)
Hello Kindness Counts Natick Community! Not to offend any of the basketball fans out there, but I thought that on this blog, we could focus on MARCH KINDNESS! Our goal is to unite our community around the common theme of kindness. To further that goal, this week we will be featuring the efforts of our student leaders (and schools) to promote kindness. We’ll learn from preschool to high school how young people are encouraging each other (and being encouraged) to be kind.
I thought that I’d start off the month with two of my favorite quotes about kindness by President Abraham Lincoln. He said: ”Kindness is the only service that will stand the storm of life and not wash out. It will wear well and will be remembered long after the prism of politeness or the complexion of courtesy has faded away.” President Lincoln also said, ”All my life I have tried to pluck a thistle and plant a flower wherever a flower would grow in thought and mind.”
This last quote, about the thistle and the flower, is one of my Mother’s favorites. She is an avid gardener, and this time of year she becomes very excited about the flowers soon to come. As spring approaches, let us see where we and our children can plant kindness, so that it grows and spreads througout the community. Happy March!
We are so pleased to announce that Kindness Counts in Natick! has launched. Look for Kindness Counts! posters, flyers to appear at your school and your local library in the next few days. In the meantime, here is all of the Contest Information for you to download and view or print.
For the Preschool and Elementary Information Flyer, click HERE.
For Middle and High School Information Flyer, click HERE.
For Registration forms (Preschool/Elementary), click HERE, for (Middle and High School), click HERE.
For a “Guide for Parents and Teachers,” click HERE.
For full Contest Rules, click HERE.
THERE IS A BUZZ around town about KINDNESS COUNTS in NATICK!, the town-wide anti- bullying campaign.
*Students in elementary school are encouraged to submit a creative project on what “being a good friend or ally” means to them.
*Middle & High School Students are asked to create a project based on this VIDEO. Middle & High School Students will answer the question: ”What does being on the ‘positive side of the line’ mean to you?”
Submissions will be judged by a panel of experts and community leaders. Winners will be featured on local TV on Natick Pegasus as well as the Natick Anti-Bullying Coalition event in May at the Morse Institute Library.
Stay tuned for contest rules and further details!! Also stay tuned to this blog about KINDNESS COUNTS in Natick!