In January 2015, the students of Grand Ridge Elementary joined 2,193,284 students in 4,142 schools in 45 countries participate in the Great Kindness Challenge, one school week devoted to students performing as many acts of kindness as possible, choosing from a 50+ item checklist. 

In addition to performing the acts of kindness on their lists, students also were treated to two all-school assemblies and had the opportunity to participate in four days of recess activities focused on acts of kindness.  The activities included: making kindness hand prints, writing a thank you note to someone in the community, decorating our school garden fence with banners of kindness, and writing a note to a child at Seattle Children’s Hospital or a local senior center.  Every day during Kindness Week was a Spirit Day.  An example was Tie(-Dye) Tuesday where students could wear a necktie or tie-dyed clothing to demonstrate that “Kindness Ties us all Together”. 

All of our students and staff were reached by this program. Along with the 50 or so parent volunteers who helped out with recess activities, we touched all 740 students, and more than 50 staff members.  Additionally, patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital and participants at a local Senior Center received notes of cheer from our students.  We also invited participation from our community.  The Issaquah Police Chief led our opening all-school assembly.  Our School District Superintendent and a local high school student concluded our final assembly sharing their beliefs about creating a culture of kindness as students grow older and become adults.  At both assemblies, our student council presented student-written, acted, and directed skits to discourage bullying and encourage friendship.