Making Caring Common
Raising kids who care about others and the common good.

Research + Initiatives

Making Caring Common leads a number of research projects and initiatives. From working directly with schools and teachers to spearheading national campaigns, we strive to make caring more common in all of our programming.


Making Caring Common leads a number of research projects and initiatives. From working directly with schools and teachers to spearheading national campaigns, we strive to make caring more common in all of our programming.



HGSE MCC Challenge


A unique opportunity for HGSE students.

Making Caring Common, generously supported by the Dean’s Office, engages HGSE students in building empathy, bridging differences, and reducing bullying, discrimination, and harassment in schools.

Making Caring Common works with HGSE students to develop school strategies or resources for educators and/or students that shape important ethical capacities in schools serving students in grades K-12.

HGSE students are encouraged to develop “light lift” materials in the form of routines, lesson plans, or practical resource guides for schools with the goal of promoting empathy and appreciation for those different from oneself (in gender, race, class, and other characteristics), a sense of responsibility for one’s communities, and a commitment to justice and fairness. Applicants may develop materials that help students overcome factors that can block empathy or enable bullying and cruelty, such as prejudice and bias and lack of school knowledge, or training about bullying and effective bystander responses.

Finalists and winners receive stipends to support their work.


Milena Batanova

Note: Applications for 2018-19 have closed.


The Challenge helped me explore my passion and work towards a cause I feel strongly about. I liked that it gave me an opportunity to share my ideas with the HGSE community (not just my classmates), including professors and the Dean.
— HGSE Student

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the HGSE MCC Challenge for?

Current HGSE students are eligible to participate.


How does the HGSE MCC CHALLENGE work?

Current HGSE students are encouraged to submit a proposal for a "light lift" strategy for use in schools. A “light lift” strategy is one that can be implemented with ease and flexibility and that does not require much preparation or training.

Five to ten finalist teams will receive a $500 stipend and work with the Making Caring Common team to further develop their proposals.

Up to five winning teams will receive an additional $250 stipend. Their materials will be piloted in schools in spring 2019.


What is the general timeline?


Info Sessions

Early October
Initial Proposals due

Finalists announced

October and November
Workshops for finalists

Early December
Final materials due

Winter 2019
Final presentations and winner announcement

Spring 2019
Pilot-testing winning projects in schools



Note: The deadline to submit a proposal for 2018-19 has passed.

Key requirements:

  • The proposal should be 2-3 pages, double-spaced, 12-pt font

  • The proposal should include your name, program of study, and email

  • The proposal should be emailed to Milena Batanova ( before October 5, 2018, at 11:59pm

Please refer to MCC's Resource for Educators as samples of the types of materials you could create and describe in your proposal. Then, address the following questions:

  • What is the specific problem or gap in practice that you want to address with your materials? This needs to be relevant to building empathy and inclusion, bullying prevention, or other empathy- and justice-related issues at schools, like addressing bigotry and bias.

  • What are your proposed materials (e.g., lessons, resource guide, etc)? What is the rationale that students and/or educators will be engaged with your materials?

  • What evidence and/or theoretical support are there for your proposed materials? What might “success” look like, i.e., what would students and/or educators learn or gain from your materials?

  • What do you hope to gain from this experience?

Keep in mind that the materials you propose would need to be "light lift" for use in schools. By light lift, we mean they could be implemented with ease and flexibility, and wouldn't require much preparation or training. Materials can be for teachers only (e.g., how to be "moral" educators), or can involve direct, daily or weekly engagement with students.

Examples from past winners include a "Bullying Response Plan" whole-school resource guide, lesson plans aimed at promoting respect for students with learning differences, and simple everyday routines that foster the habits of empathy in middle or high school classrooms.


What if I still have questions?

Contact Milena Batanova at



2018-2019 Finalists

Being Friends with Failure - A set of activities to cultivate Self-Compassion in classrooms and beyond
Eliza Rose Fichter, Ed.M. candidate, Arts in Education

Documentary Theatre - Classroom strategy designed to foster empathy through drama, employing peer interviews to serve as a creative springboard for dialogue across difference
Jordan Campbell, Ed.M. candidate, Arts in Education

Educating Against Gender Bias - A set of lesson plans for engaging teachers and elementary school students in discussions about gender stereotyping and bias and how to overcome them in the classroom.
Emily Albery, Ed.M. candidate, Human Development and Psychology

A Tool for Reflection: How is your school contributing to the school-to-prison pipeline? - A toolkit for educators to assess how their school's current disciplinary practices could be perpetuating the pipeline
Miriam E. Hammond, Ed.M. candidate, Teacher Education

Better Thinking: Trauma-Informed Professional Development - A set of professional development activities and strategies to assist school personnel in identifying and supporting students who have experience or are experiencing adverse childhood experiences.
Samantha Wettje, Ed.M. candidate, Human Development & Psychology

Listen to Our Senses - An informal meditation toolkit to cultivate self-compassion in students from K-8 through making emotions visible.
Arielle Jiang, Ed.M. candidate, Arts in Education

2017-2018 Finalists

Valu-Ed - Fostering inclusive classrooms by developing empathy towards those with disabilities and diverse learning needs
Mahima Bhalla, Ed.M. Technology, Innovation, and Education

The World of Empathy - Transforming empathy learning into a collaborative epic adventure through light-lift classroom activities
Tonya Bryant, Ed.M. Technology, Innovation, and Education
Dancy Fu, Ed.M. Technology, Innovation, and Education
Monica Meng, Ed.M. Technology, Innovation, and Education

It’s On Us - A comprehensive toolkit to support schools in preventing and combating sexual harassment
Iva Markicevic, Ed.M. Technology, Innovation, and Education

Tools for Liberation - A set of activities promoting Critical Consciousness in classrooms and beyond
Sophia Perlaza, Ed.M. Education Policy and Management
Soraya Ramos, Ed.M. Education Policy and Management

Youth Take Charge - A comprehensive toolkit to support youth-adult partnerships in reviewing and revising their school bullying response plan
Brittany Usiak, Ed.M. Prevention Science and Practice

Imagine Empathy - Playful routines to foster authentic connections and reflections in classrooms
Dana Wieluns Legawiec, Ed.M. Arts In Education

STEM and Empathy - A comprehensive toolkit that re-imagines how we can teach STEM in a way that encourages empathy and a commitment to community and social justice.
Liz Williams, Ed.M. Education Policy and Management

Empathy through Making
Kyris Ang, Ed.M. Learning and Teaching
Siyi Ye, Ed.M. Technology, Innovation, and Education

Arts and Empathy
Camila Garcia Enriquez, Ed.M. AIE
Parnika Bhatia, Ed.M. Mind, Brain, and Education

Who’s in the Room?
Meg Lafarge, Ed.M.Learning and Teaching

Digital Trailblazers
Susan McCabe, M.Ed. Technology, Innovation, and Education

Consider This: What I Care About and Why
Sanya Sagar, Ed.M. Learning and Teaching

Myth Detectives
Jenny Woo, Ed.M. Mind, Brain, and Education

2016-2017 Finalists

InterACT - Helping students practice interacting with peers, school staff, and parents in a way that connects with the person first
Mia Branco and Alysha English, Arts in Education

J.U.S.T. in Case - A toolkit that students and teachers can use over the span of 6-8 weeks to tackle inequities at the school level through various mediums
Laura Burgos, Ed.L.D.

Arc Towards Justice - An interactive, modular, and scalable curriculum program that empowers preteens (6th - 8th grade) with democratic skills necessary to enact change in their community
Sophia Chung, Technology, Innovation, and Education

The Care Court - A moot-style court activity that puts pre-written dilemmas on trial in an effort to help students learn to deal with one another with care
Dessalines Floyd, Ed.L.D.

The Story of Us - A curriculum that frames multiculturalism as the study of “us” rather than the study of the “other”
Helen Ho, Human Development & Psychology

Ideal Image - A low-lift, widely applicable, game-like strategy adapted from Augusto Boal's Theater of the Oppressed
Julia Juster, Learning & Teaching

Fostering Empathy for the Immigrant Experience - A resource guide for teaching the immigration experience through high-quality young adult literature
Catherine Keane, Language & Literacy

Be the Change Maker - A student committee regularly invites one changemaker to come by their classroom for a half-hour visit and interview
Anjali Nirmalan, Learning & Teaching - Instructional Leadership

You Make the Call - Highlights a quick ethical dilemma for students to resolve at the beginning of class
Matt Presser, Ed.L.D.

Building Inclusive School Communities Through Restorative Justice - A 21-day Restorative Justice (RJ) Toolkit that teachers can implement at the beginning of the school year in order to lay a strong foundation for an inclusive student culture and community
Marguerite Vichier-Guerre, Education Policy & Management