Earlier this month, Arrowhead Elementary worked on a school-wide project called "Kindness Connects Us." The goal of the project was to celebrate acts of kindness that happen every day. Teachers and students worked together to nominate each other for kindness 'links' which were then connected to create chains in each classroom. On June 13th, a school assembly was held to combine all of the links-- creating a giant chain that gave a visible representation of how far their kind acts had reached. Arrowhead Elementary PTA provided Otter Pops and organized a group of parent volunteers to help pass those out and assist during a special celebratory all-school recess.
The Kindness Connects Us project was created by Arrowhead staff as a way to positively reinforce the ongoing work of Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) and Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS)-- the district-wide framework being used to improve school climate and provide integrated supports for improving social, emotional and academic outcomes for all students. The result of collaboration by Arrowhead's MTSS/PBIS and Equity & Diversity teams, Kindness Connects Us worked to build on the theme of Kindness that the school had been focusing on throughout the year. They also coordinated with Arrowhead PTA to help spread the word to families and organize the culminating celebration-- turning it into a wonderful opportunity for family and community engagement as well.
The project was kicked off by having each student create an "Identity Link" to show kindness to ourselves and to celebrate their individual and unique identities. Each class picked from one of three identity link options. Teacher Jessica-Lynn Tompkins (also a project organizer) described this first step, "The identity links are included in our kindness chain to ensure that everyone (staff and student) had a link right away and to symbolize that even though we are different, we are one community."
For two weeks, teachers gave out kindness links that included the student's name and a place to mark if they were kind to themselves, to others, or to the school. Each class had a goal of 100 links. Students received links at recess, in their classrooms, and could even nominate peers for links during class meetings. Every student in school wrote messages of how to demonstrate kindness throughout their daily lives. Then they ended the project with an all-school assembly where they connected all of the links and enjoyed some music. Together, the links of paper formed a gigantic chain across the school’s campus! The day of celebration was capped off with a special all-school recess and sweet treats from Arrowhead PTA.
This Kindness Connects Us project involved the entire school community and offered an incredible visual reminder of the power of kindness and how kindness can connect us all.
Many thanks to Arrowhead PTA co-President Kristie Johnson and Arrowhead teacher Jessica-Lynn Tompkins for sharing information about Kindness Connects Us with Council (and for providing some wonderful photos!). We hope that Arrowhead Elementary's project can serve as an inspiration for more collaborative community efforts in our schools!
Community Serve Day is a collaborative effort between local churches, school districts, PTSA’s, non-profits, and businesses that mobilize as one for our community. For one day we come together to help schools get ready for the new school year, preparing classrooms and school grounds to become a premier learning environment for our kids. Projects include helping teachers set up classrooms, as well as improving the campuses through painting, repairs, beautification, and more. Community Serve Day 2019 will take place on Sunday, August 25th, from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Community members and families are encouraged to volunteer to help in this effort and all ages are welcome! Sign up at communityserveday.org starting in early April. Once registered, volunteers will receive information and instructions regarding their selected site projects via email.
Three new schools will be participating in this year's event: Sunrise Elementary, Wellington Elementary and Inglemoor High School. The graphic below lists all of the participating schools and site leaders.
Community Serve Day 2019 Participating Northshore Schools
Note: site leaders are still needed for schools that do not have one listed. The Site Leader's role is to plan and coordinate with the principal and NSD Facilities, plan/place volunteers on various projects, and serve as the contact for questions specific to one's school. If you have suggestions for someone who may be a great site leader, contact Tim King (Northshore Community Church).
PTAs/PTSAs are encouraged to support Community Serve Day in a number of different ways:
PTA/PTSA timeline for this year's event:
For more information about Community Serve Day and to sign up to volunteer, visit: communityserveday.org.
Questions? Project contacts:
At our November 5, 2018 General Membership Meeting, we heard an informative and inspiring call to action from speaker JMarie Johnson-Cola regarding Family & Community Engagement (FACE). Each child must be supported by, not only parents and teachers, but extended families, school districts, neighbors and community members to help them realize their full potential.
Handouts included an example of a Family Engagement Action Plan Template as well as a quote from the Carnegie Corporation of New York regarding what it takes to meet the challenge of FACE:
In her talk, JMarie mentioned a number of resources to help inform Family and Community Engagement best practices. Here are a few of the ones she mentioned:
Books & Articles:
Course Modules for FACE: