What ‘kind’ looks like through the eyes of students
ACSA member compiles students’ experiences with kindness into book
July 12, 2021
Whenever students come to Lisa Longoria with bullying concerns, it breaks her heart.
“I was one of those kids as well when I was little,” said the vice principal of Academy for Academic Excellence, a charter school in Apple Valley USD. “I wish I had had an administrator who would have dealt with it or given me tools to handle it better myself.”
Feeling that “anti-bullying” campaigns highlight the negative, Longoria wanted to flip things to the positive and create a “Kindness Week” across her campus.
Inspired by NASA’s saying “Failure is not an option” (the school has a partnership with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory), Longoria started saying “Kindness is always an option” at the end of her morning announcements and the weekend bedtime stories she posts on the school’s Facebook page each Friday night. The kids also heard the motto during videos she made during distance learning that featured the school’s social-emotional learning curriculum.
“In just a couple years of doing this, my students know that I look for the kind way of doing things,” she said. “If I have to counsel a student, I use restorative practices, and ask them, ‘What does “kind” look like in this incident?’ We are far from perfect, but it has been a game-changer!”
As the school entered its second COVID shutdown in November 2020, Longoria was inspired to look for some positivity in the challenging situation. She asked teachers to have their students remember a time when they showed someone kindness or when someone showed kindness to them.
The result was complied into the self-published book “Kindness Is Always An Option: A Collection of Kind Choices by Awesome Kids,” which is available on Amazon.
“I see this as something we can always look back to for years to come, kind of like a yearbook of kindness!” Longoria said.
Excerpts from ‘Kindness is Always an Option’
“My friend shares his Ghostbusters toys. He showed me the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man. We had a lot of fun.” — Ryan, 1st grade
“One morning, my mom dropped me off at school early. I saw a girl that looked lonely. I was nervous to go up and talk to her but my mom encouraged me to always be nice and kind to someone who needed a friend. I said hi to her and walked her to her class. We were both happy. You never know when someone needs kindness.” — Audrey, 2nd grade
“I once helped a girl in my class. She had to take a screenshot before our teacher would turn the page to the next one. But my classmate didn’t know how to do it. She looked fidgety on the screen and because she was moving so much everybody noticed her. But we all stayed quiet like mice. My classmate began to scream nervously. She sounded like a screeching car and said in a frantic tone, ‘I don’t know how to screenshot!’ Without even thinking I wrote and gave her the steps on a piece of paper by holding it up to the camera for her to see. My classmate softly said, ‘Thank you!’ While I whispered back, ‘You’re welcome.’” — Andrea, 3rd grade
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