“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can.” – John Wesley
John Wesley would have made a great Coyote.
Natomas Park Elementary School featured the 18th century theologian’s quote in its recent “Kindness Week,” which stressed the importance not only of earning good grades but being a good person – friendly, generous, caring and concerned.
At least two other NUSD campuses, Paso Verde and Leroy Greene Academy, also offered kindness campaigns recently, honoring the spirit of World Kindness Day, an annual international event observed Nov. 13.
“A big part of helping kids be successful, well-rounded students and citizens in their community is character-building,” said Natomas Park Principal Nou Vang, who noted that 4th– and 5th-grade Coyote student leaders helped to organize the school’s Kindness Week, Nov. 13-17.
Each day of “Kindness Week” highlighted a theme, which was explained in morning announcements and celebrated by each classroom:
Monday’s Theme: “Say something nice, give sincere compliments to everyone you greet.”
Tuesday’s Theme: “Be kind to a stranger, do something nice for someone you don’t know.”
Wednesday’s Theme: “Value friendship, do a good deed for a friend.”
Thursday’s Theme: “Give generously, donate to a good cause.”
Friday’s Theme: “Make a new friend today, it will bring both of you good luck.”
As one example of how classes expanded on the themes, 4th-grade teacher Robert Burnes led a character-building activity around a children’s book, “How Full is Your Bucket?” The book’s message is that everyone has an invisible bucket that is filled up or emptied by good or bad interactions every day.
Since kindness is a bucket filler, each student in Burnes’ class had a container that classmates were encouraged to fill with written compliments. On Friday, students got to read the praise they received. The 4th-graders were urged to continue reaching out long after Kindness Week was over, Vang said.
Another 4th-grade class, led by teacher Jill Roberts, learned about and raised money for UNICEF, a United Nations program providing humanitarian and other assistance to children and mothers in developing countries. Roberts’ class collected $197.59.
In Natomas Park’s multipurpose room during Kindness Week, a “Compliment and Thank You Box” near the center stage collected written praise and encouragement from students and staff. Some of the handwritten messages were shared on morning announcements by School Resource Officer Amy Slay.
“Olivia – you make my day even better,” one message said.
“Thank you Jordyn James for being my best friend,” read another.
“To Maralay – I really like your hair style.”
“Thank you for being so kind Jayden.”
During Kindness Week, there was a noticeable drop in office referrals for negative behavior – only five students were sent to the principal’s office all week out of nearly 800 students enrolled in the school, Vang said.
Kindness Week complemented the “Coyote Way,” a guideline for conduct emphasized by the school year-round, Vang said. It’s known as HOWL, an acronym crafted from “Have respect,” “Offer kindness,” “Make Wise Decisions,” and “Be a Lifelong learner.”