The Middle School Kindness Challenge lasts four weeks and has three phases:

Phase 1: Accepting the Challenge

Phase I is the moment your school publicly accepts the Middle School Kindness Challenge. In many ways, this is the most important phase. It sets the tone for the school during the Challenge, and it prepares school staff to teach, foster, and celebrate kindness with their students during Phases 2 and 3.

Phase I begins after your school selects Kindness Captains, the staff responsible for leading the school community to successfully complete the Kindness Challenge.

With input from colleagues, the Kindness Captains select an overarching question to frame this year’s Challenge for your school (for example: “Why does kindness matter?” or “How is kindness a superpower?”) and begins planning the final schoolwide kindness event for Phase 3.

Next, all participating teachers and staff do a short online reflective exercise and choose the kindness activities they’ll teach to students during Phase II.

Phase 2: Teaching and Fostering Kindness

Phase II kicks-off with a school-wide celebration of your school’s Challenge acceptance and the launch of the campaign for kindness to get every student on base for kindness.

During Phase II, students will experience the life-changing power of kindness as teachers and school staff engage students in one of three distinct pathways that include activities designed to provide an exciting variety of ways for every student to practice kindness.

Teachers and school staff will also rate these activities on the Challenge website to earn credit toward the school’s Challenge completion as well as to provide valuable feedback to colleagues across the country who have accepted the Middle School Kindness Challenge.

Phase 3: Celebrating Kindness

The Middle School Kindness Challenge culminates in a meaningful school-wide event that teachers, school staff, and students have planned to celebrate what the school community learned during the Challenge and spotlights how your school will make kindness an ongoing aspect of the learning environment.

The final Challenge event should really bring it home for everyone involved— that commonplace kindness matters, each and every day. Final Challenge schoolwide event options might include a Kindness “Teach In,” a Kindness Project Expo, or an assembly or presentation on the Power of Kindness.

After the Challenge concludes, Kindness Captains share results and highlights that will help inspire schools across the country to take the Kindness Challenge in the future. Your school will then receive a Donors Choose credit, well-deserved recognition on Great Schools!, and an opportunity to partner with one of several outstanding education support organizations at a reduced cost.

How it works

During the Challenge, teachers and school staff implement one of three research-based, themed pathways with students.

Strengthening Peer Relationships

This pathway focuses on building constructive interactions among students for a positive classroom and school culture. It includes activities that help students make essential agreements with their classmates, listen actively and resolve conflicts with each other.

Developing Positive Mindsets

This pathway focuses on self-management and self-care strategies that equip students with ways to monitor their own feelings, setting them up to be kind to others. Activities include practicing gratitude, goal setting and positive framing of situations.

Fostering Empathy

Fostering Empathy: This pathway goes beyond individual student relationships to tackle larger issues and trends such as stereotypes and bullying based on identity. It focuses on critical topics such as shared identity and fostering civil discourse.