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Release Date: 3/22/2019
Contact: Brandon Oland, 443.809.5908
Jessica Mayorga, 202.549.4896

General John Stricker Middle School named national kindness champion

TOWSON, MD – The term “national champion” certainly has a nice ring to it, as students at General John Stricker Middle School found out today at a celebration pep-rally. Out of more than 1,000 schools that took part in the Middle School Kindness Challenge, General John Stricker was named the 2019 Middle School Kindness Challenge Champion by host organization Stand for Children.

“The most powerful part is the leadership from our teachers and students,” said Principal Laurie Phillips Friend. “The kindness challenge went right along with the work we’re doing this year on trauma-informed instruction. Not only did most educators sign up to teach a kindness lesson, but the challenge also gave students a purpose—even kids you would not expect to participate,” she continued.

As champions, General John Stricker Middle earned $5,000 in DonorsChoose.org credits, to be used for materials that promote kindness, along with a trophy and tee shirts.

Students at General John Stricker took part in the national Middle School Kindness Challenge by completing a variety of kindness activities during a four-week period. Prompted by a kindness message during the morning announcements, students created their own kindness patch during homeroom to highlight either an act of kindness they had witnessed or a way to show kindness to others. The resulting kindness quilt is on display in the school’s front lobby. A group of students worked together to hang the patches and create the quilt. Students will create an annual kindness quilt as the school’s kindness ritual.

Additionally, students created a kindness tree in a language arts class, wrote positive letters to one another in a reading class, and in a science class, created skits displaying kindness. Some students created get-well cards for a peer who was in the hospital. Homerooms participated in a door-decorating contest focused on messages of kindness. Teachers created staff holiday shirts featuring the Grinch holding a bulb ornament that says, “Be Kind,” posted kindness messages on a bulletin board, and created wreaths.

Aligned with the Baltimore County Public Schools priority on school climate, the Middle School Kindness Challenge is focused on kindness and student learning in Grades 4-8. Available at no cost, the Challenge includes a faculty orientation, reflection exercise, and a choice of four kindness activities taught during a four-week period. The four categories of activities are: strengthening peer relationships, developing positive mindsets, fostering student empathy, and spreading cyber-kindness. The culminating activity is developing a kindness ritual.

“It’s becoming more and more apparent that we need to teach children to manage their emotions and actions and to regularly demonstrate kindness in their day to day lives,” said Jonah Edelman, co-founder and chief executive officer of Stand for Children. “General John Stricker students demonstrated that young people are hungry for kindness-centered activities and that they genuinely want to learn in an environment where respect, caring and support are common-place. We honor their efforts and invite schools nationwide to join this movement.”

Stand for Children is a non-profit education advocacy organization focused on ensuring all students receive a high-quality, relevant education, especially those whose boundless potential is overlooked and under-tapped because of their skin color, zip code, first language, or disability. Stand for Children makes an impact by:

  • Partnering with parents to support their children’s education journey and to become strong advocates.
  • Advocating, mainly at the state and local level, for proven policies and funding primarily focused on helping students reach make-or-break milestones:
    • Reading well by the end of third grade
    • Graduating high school ready for college, career training, or a career
  • Ensuring these changes reach classrooms and directly support students.
  • Electing candidates committed to fighting for an equitable public education system that gives all students a chance to succeed.

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Baltimore County Public Schools
6901 Charles Street
Towson, Maryland 21204
443-809-4554

Report Fraud, Waste, or Abuse

Darryl L. Williams, Ed.D.
Superintendent

E-mail Dr. Williams

Follow @BCPS_Sup

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©2019 Baltimore County Public Schools. All rights reserved.