Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Kind Schools Project?

Led by Stand for Children, the Kind Schools Project is a coalition of leading education organizations, distinguished educators, and acclaimed researchers committed to ensuring that every American middle school is a place where kindness is commonplace; meanness, hostility, and bullying reach an all-time low; and empathetic approaches to student behavior reduce unnecessary suspensions

Kind School Project national program partners include Making Caring Common, Facing History and Ourselves, InspirED, Greater Good Science Center, and the Yale Center on Emotional Intelligence. The first initiative of the Kind Schools Project is the Middle School Kindness Challenge.

What is the Middle School Kindness Challenge?

The Challenge is an exciting four-week series of readily doable events and activities that will empower principals, teachers, and staff at participating schools to launch school-wide campaigns for kindness that include classroom activities to teach, foster, and celebrate kindness among middle school students. The Challenge is designed to help ensure that participating schools are places where all students are safe, accepted, and welcomed in school each and every day.

Why is the Challenge being launched now?

These are disturbing times. Every day, our students are exposed to powerful forces in and out of school — including via the media — that promote meanness, intolerance, division, violence, and even hate. Stand for Children and its partners are launching the Challenge because a shortage of kindness in schools undermines students’ learning, wellness, and, ultimately, their and our nation’s future potential.

Which schools can participate?

Every school in the country with any combination of grades 5-8 is eligible to participate in the Challenge.

Why middle school?

Middle school is a pivotal time in a young person’s life, when brain and physical development drive significant changes, including establishing a sense of identity and lifelong behavior patterns. Therefore, it’s essential to provide middle schools with opportunities and resources to intentionally teach, foster, and celebrate the values and skills of kindness at this critical age so that students leave middle school with a positive mindset and the skills to guide their interactions in school and in the world.

Why focus on kindness?

Kindness is a universally-understood virtue that is demonstrated by ethical behavior and concern for others. Even middle schoolers understand what kindness is! And because middle schoolers are establishing their sense of individual identity and long-term behavior patterns, the time is right to teach, foster, and celebrate both the values and skills of kindness so that they develop to become kind, successful, and responsible adults.

Why should middle schools participate?

Research and experience demonstrates that schools which implement systematic and intentional activities to enhance students’ sense of safety and acceptance are better equipped to help student succeed in school and in life. Middle schools should participate because we must support our kids against the forces of meanness, intolerance, division, violence, and hate by using the Challenge to help strengthen existing efforts to teach, foster, and celebrate kindness or to help any school kick-start a long-term effort to improve levels of kindness among students and adults in schools.

How do middle schools participate in the Challenge?

Principals or a designated school staff member will need to register their schools to take the Challenge using the form on this page.

What does it cost a school to participate in the Challenge?

There is absolutely no cost to any school that participates in the Challenge

How much time will this take participating staff?

The Challenge is being designed to be easy-to-implement with minimal time required of teachers and other school staff so that all activities can be implemented within the regular school day. 

What incentives can schools and individual teachers/staff earn by completing the Challenge?

Beyond the most important outcome of the Challenge in every participating school — long-lasting, systematic and intentional teaching, fostering, and celebrating of kindness — rewards for schools and school staff will include:

  • $500 Donors Choose credit for the first 500 schools that complete the Challenge and eligibility to enter a drawing for a $5,000 Donors Choose credit.
  • National recognition on GreatSchools.org, the nation’s premiere school ratings site, for all schools that complete the Kindness Challenge.
  • Reduced-price school climate improvement support from leading education support organizations, including Facing History and Ourselves, Making Caring Common, and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.
How do participating schools complete the Challenge?

In order to complete the Challenge, participating schools must complete all required Challenge activities, including a final schoolwide Challenge activity at the end of the Challenge’s month-long process.  

How can interested organizations get involved?

Stand for Children, which is coordinating the Challenge, seeks mission-aligned partners—including education organizations, school districts and charter management organizations—to join us and play essential partnership roles, including Program and Campaign partners, to being the Challenge to middle schools across the country. If you are interested in joining us, use the form on this page or contact us at kindschoolsproject@stand.org