"Be kind" is one of the six goals that the Lebanon Special School District has set for itself for the 2019-20 school year. The district is tackling this goal in a number of ways, both inside and outside of the classroom.
The district has been embracing its goal of being kind by serving the teachers lunch at each of the six schools.
On Tuesday morning, the director and assistant director of schools, along with other district employees, served lunch to the teachers at Castle Heights Elementary School.
"If we're asking our teachers to model kindness for their students, we want to start by doing something kind for them," said LSSD Director Scott Benson. "We're driving home the goals for the year."
The kindness doesn't stop with lunches. The district has implemented a number of ways that the district leaders, teachers and students can show kindness at their schools and in the community.
"We started by hosting three years of Rachel's Challenge and saw how it changed the climate at our school," said Connie Gray, School Age Child Care/WeeCare program director.
Rachel's Challenge is based on the story of Rachel Scott, the first girl who was killed in the Columbine shooting. It challenges students to prevent violence in their schools by spreading kindness.
"After we finished the challenge I didn't want to see the roots of the kindness go away, so I started the Kids' Council," Gray said. "We started doing community projects like sending packages to the military and Christmas caroling at assisted living centers,"
The Kids' Council also sparked the idea for the Kindness Cadets. A program where students, teachers and community members work together to spread kindness throughout the schools and the community.
"It sounds like it's nothing," Gray said. "But it's everything when you instill empathy in the students."
The district is always finding ways that they can demonstrate kindness.
"Our Kindness Cadets wrote their own school pledge about kindness and they say it every morning on the school announcements," said Julie Draper, the assistant principal at Sam Houston Elementary School.
The faculty likes to get in on the kindness, too. Over the summer, Pam McPeak, the food services manager for Castle Heights, served over 17,000 lunches to anyone under 18.
"We want to make sure our students are still taken care of in the summer," McPeak said. "But it wasn't limited to just LSSD students. Anyone under the age of 18 could come get free lunches from us."