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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
January 10, 2022

Dear County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and Principals:

The Great Kindness Challenge Week: January 24–28, 2022

The California Department of Education, in partnership with the Great Kindness Challenge® (GKC), encourages all teachers, staff, students, and families of California schools to participate in the GKC the week of January 24–28, 2022.

The GKC initiative, presented by Kids for Peace, is a global campaign that promotes kindness in kindergarten through grade twelve schools. It is a positive, action-based bullying-prevention initiative that creates a school culture of kindness, compassion, unity, and respect.

The GKC offers a free, customizable kindness checklist (https://thegreatkindnesschallenge.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Checklist-Preview-Page_2021-2022.pdf) to use during GKC week, which is the last week of January. This challenge week gives every educator and student an opportunity to model and focus on kindness practices that engage the entire school community in the social-emotional learning (SEL) process. SEL is the process of developing self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work, and life success.

The GKC is also offering a selection of 50 SEL-focused kindness lessons that can be used in person or virtually. These lessons can be taught one to three times per week or as the lessons fit into the school day. Each lesson represents an act of kindness from the kindness checklist, and the lessons focus on key kindness concepts including self-care, respect, gratitude, and inclusiveness. Three examples of lessons on the GKC website are “be kind to yourself and create an ‘I am’ poster,” “say ‘Hi’ or cheer someone up who looks sad,” and “learn something new about a different culture.”

One of my main priorities as the State Superintendent of Public Instruction is student health and safety. It is critical that school staff and students feel safe at schools. Now more than ever, we all need to put safety and SEL supports at the forefront of our schools. We invite you to join nearly 17 million students who participated in over 33,000 schools in 115 countries for a positive start to 2022! You can sign up on the GKC website at https://thegreatkindnesschallenge.com and get instant access to the free online GKC tools (including the school and home kindness checklists, 50 SEL-focused kindness lessons, GKC toolkit, inspiration videos, translations, and more).

Schools are also welcome to participate in the GKC's global service project to fulfill a wish of a child from another country. To learn more about the 2022 service project and how you may involve your students in becoming global citizens and young philanthropists, visit the GKC Kind Coins for Peru web page at https://thegreatkindnesschallenge.com/kind-coins-for-peru.

Finally, I extend my sincerest gratitude to school staff statewide for all that you give to our California students, especially for ensuring safe school environments and for promoting social-emotional wellness. I encourage all California schools to participate in the GKC from January 24–28. Let’s start the new year with kindness, knowing it has the power to create a safe and positive school environment. Your kindness matters.

Sincerely,

Tony Thurmond
State Superintendent of Public Instruction

TT:kf
2021-03311
Last Reviewed: Monday, January 10, 2022

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