For Educators: Building Community with Kindness at Fair Park Preparatory Academy (Project Idea)
The KIND Schools Challenge team at Fair Park Preparatory Academy in Shreveport, Louisiana aims to create community amongst students from many neighborhoods during the first year of the school’s existence. Their project encourages students to add kind and encouraging messages to a “Kind Box" that other students can take if they need a boost. Here’s what the students have to say about how their work is going so far.
What is your vision for your KIND Schools Challenge project?
Our main goal is to make our school a kinder place. We are trying to build a sense of belonging and family at our school. We are trying to reduce the amount of fights and teach a different way to speak to one another. We want all of our students to know there is always someone here that cares for them and wants their day to get better.
Since we have started this project, students have been excited about not only going into the "Kind Box" for encouraging words, but they are also asking if they can put kind words in the box for others. Students are putting inspirational quotes, scripture, and original phrases they would want to hear any given day. We even had faculty members ask if we could make a "Kind Box" for teachers!
What is one challenge you’ve encountered while working on the KIND Schools Challenge? How did your team overcome this obstacle?
Initially, our box was not completely secure in the cafeteria so we moved it to the library. Students can also go in there before school, during lunch, and after school. Another adjustment we made was to take teacher and student recommendations for students that would receive a candy bar “pick me up.” We rely on teacher observations, counselors, discipline administrators, office staff, and other students to let us know who they believe needs some encouragement.
What are you looking forward to most as you continue your work on the KIND Schools Challenge?
We are looking forward to our T-shirts coming in so we can further get our students talking about our kindness initiative. State testing can be a stressful time for everyone at school, and we hope during the weeks leading into testing, our team can bring some sunshine to everyone's day. Kindness is contagious!
Originally published May 2018.