I have truly been blessed to get to watch kids make such a difference in their schools! I have always said, “When you give kids an opportunity, tools, and time, it is amazing what they can accomplish!”
I have been working with kids in leadership for a very long time. Mostly through a process called “CLASS Leadership,” (Cooperative Leadership and Sharing Strategies). I put anywhere from 1 to 12 schools in a group and I meet with them 3 times a year. I teach things like empathy, accountability, building relationships, and first impressions. Learning and practicing these skills helps to make them “employable!” I have 62 schools and over 1100 kids and sponsors taking part in this program this school year!
In the first round with these students I ask them to work on three things individually and one thing as a school team. The three things to work on individually were:
- Work on one thing to make a better first impression.
- Intentionally recognize two students and one adult each week.
- Work on one thing to develop a “mindset in developing more grit.”
The school team project was centered on teaching “Empathy” in their school district!
In the second round with these kids, they have to share with the other kids what they have done as individuals and also what their team has done or is doing! And they chose one thing to “use moderation with technology.” The average teenager spends and average of 9 hours a day in front of a screen. We also worked on goals setting by using “SMART” goals!
In our third meeting the students will share what they chose in using moderation with technology and how they are doing with it. They also continued “intentionally recognizing” others! They worked on self-improvement on setting a specific goal in being a difference maker!
I would like to share with you the things that all of these schools and kids are doing, but that would be a very long newsletter, so I will share what some of the schools and students are doing. Please understand that almost all of the other schools are doing something similar!
There were sixty-two schools that took part in “Empathy Projects” to make a difference! Here is an example of what two schools did:
Our students at CT decided to develop an “Empathy Week”.
Each grade level (6,7,8) will be given a specific task.
6th graders – describe a RAK (Random Act of Kindness) that they have witnessed at CT or have completed themselves. Record that RAK on a post-it note and turn it in to their bulldog teacher.
7th graders – write a note to an administrator or classified staff member thanking them for their work here at CT or for something kind the staff member has done for a specific student. Turn the note into their bulldog teacher.
8th graders – write a note of thanks to a teacher that has had a significant effect on their life. Turn the note into their bulldog teacher.
The C.L.A.S.S. Leadership students will visit bulldog classrooms on Tuesday. They will teach the students how to do the tasks above so they are respectful and then give the supplies to the bulldog teachers.
C.L.A.S.S. Leadership students read through the post-it notes and make sure they are appropriate to hang on the wall. We will spell “Empathy” with the Post-its for a huge sign that will hang in our main hallway.
C.L.A.S.S. Leadership students deliver notes to staff member’s mailboxes. The “Empathy” Banner will be hung in the main hallway after school so that it will be ready for Friday Morning.
We will have two assemblies in the auditorium during bulldog time. During the assemblies students from our C.L.A.S.S. Leadership group will give short speeches informing the students about C.L.A.S.S. Leadership, defining “Empathy”, giving examples of what it looks like in our school and how we can work together to keep our school kind and safe for all students.
Our kids have put a lot of time and effort into this and I truly believe it is because CLASS Leadership has had a significant impact on them!
For empathy, we have already done a random act of kindness wall, where kids or staff can write on a sticky note something kind someone else did for them.
We have also done a few mentoring activities, where we mentor the younger grades Pre-3, and still have one more planned. We plan to split up into groups of 2 or 3, and talk about empathy.
We will explain what empathy is, do an activity with them (such as read a book), and make a poster.
The poster we are planning to do with every class will be to make purple footprints, and hang them on a wall, sort of in a walking pattern. And put the saying “Walk a Mile in Someone Else’s shoes.”