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Advisory group sparks district wide Kindness Committee

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The district wide Kindness Committee started with the student advisory group last year, that was originally formed to promote an understanding of diversity. Andy Plunkett, LISD assistant chief of schools, quickly realized this program could be beneficial to the whole district after attending a student advisory meeting.  

“The unique thing about the student advisory group is that is wasn’t just all of the Stuco kids, and it wasn’t all of the popular kids,” Plunkett said. “It was a truly diverse representation of the student body — of every club, every ethnicity, every gender.”

The district worked over the summer to implement this by putting together the LISD Inaugural Kindness Convocation on Aug. 7. Students from all five high schools attended the meeting and each school now has 200 Kindness Ambassadors. These students are the kindness campaign leaders within their schools.

“I think [the end goal is] making LISD a kinder community where everyone is involved and accepted,” Kindness Ambassador senior Chloe Agis said.  

Agis started as a member of the school’s original advisory group. Her Academic Decathlon teacher suggested her for the position of Kindness Ambassador, and Agis believes this is a great way to build community within the school.

The Ambassadors used the summer meeting to plan for a year focused on kindness. While this campaign began with the high schools, it will reach the middle schools by the end of September.

“It can make our school a kinder and nicer place to go to and not so isolated where everyone is in their own clique, but more of a united front,” Agis said.

LISD is pairing with Character Strong to provide training for students to learn how to build their character and social emotional skills, which will be taught during Marauder Time.

The kindness ambassadors met to discuss ways to promote kindness throughout their schools. Agis said the event opened her mind to things she hadn’t really thought about before.

“School shouldn’t be a place where people are scared to go to,” Agis said. “Everyone should feel welcome and accepted, not ostracized.”

Assistant Principal Jennifer Hawes thinks collaborating with Character Strong has been good for the campus. She has noticed the students are more willing to talk to one another and thinks the change has increased their happiness while at school.

“The purpose was to build connections amongst students and build relationships that don’t happen naturally with students who are more reserved,” Hawes said.

Student Council officers attended the convocation to prepare for the school year ahead, but they are just meant to oversee the results of the kindness campaign from this point on. Student Council and  Gina Karbs, Student Council Advisor, met with the five other high school officers in May to brainstorm and decide the kindness spirit days.

“I am so proud of the school,” Karbs said. “People are talking about kindness and I think that people definitely recognize it.”

To bring kindness to the morning, is a different group holds open the doors for students each week. Most organizations and clubs within the school have a week assigned to them to promote kindness in their own way. Marauder Dads, a group of student’s fathers, are also participating in the kindness initiative. However they don’t just open the doors, they provide snacks, candy and even fruit to students in need of a boost every Friday morning.

Senior Sonali Patel is a member of Academic Decathlon, who were assigned the mornings of Sept. 17 to 20. They passed out candy, said nice things to students who entered the building and held positive signs. Patel is glad to see the school making an active effort to bring positivity to campus and thinks it’ll make everyone feel more included on campus. She thinks this is a great way for students to start their mornings and is happy to take part in it.

“I’m glad we are doing it this year to uplift everybody,” Patel said. “It’s going to give everyone really positive energy and encourage everybody to be kind to everyone.”

The groups aren’t limited to just holding open doors. Activities like displaying positive sticky notes around school, hosting community service projects and making sure everyone has someone to sit with during lunch, are examples of the Kindness Campaign.

“It’s really nice to see people care and they are making an effort to say good morning to you, be kind, and make sure you’re okay,” Patel said. “It makes you feel good that you know there is someone paying attention to you.”

 

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