Grandview Heights students who arrived at the schools cranky, crotchety or just plain grouchy last week were asked to check their bad attitudes at the door.

The district participated for the fourth year in the Great Kindness Challenge, a national initiative presented by Kids for Peace, a California-based anti-bullying organization.

Kindness Week activities were held throughout the week at each Grandview school.

"We want to make this a districtwide effort that includes students at all grade levels," said Jane O'Shaughnessy, the high school's college and career counselor who helped coordinate the district's activities.

"Kindness in our world today is so important," O'Shaughnessy said. "Kindness Week is really an anti-bullying program. If you're being nice, you're not bullying anyone."

"We're trying to create a culture of kindness at our schools," she said.

The weeklong slate of activities helped drive that message home, O'Shaughnessy said.

"What's nice about this program is that it emphasizes kindness and brings it to students' attention with a big week of activities," she said. "Because we put so much emphasis on it, they don't easily forget it.

"I think it helps because I see students making more of an effort (during Kindness Week) to be kind," O'Shaughnessy said. "What we hope to see is that students carry forward the idea of kindness and act on it throughout the year."

At Stevenson Elementary School, students collected money to donate to the World Wildlife Fund to help injured animals and restore their habitat from the recent fires in Australia, O'Shaughnessy said. Teachers also took some time each day to talk with their students about different ways they could be nice to others.

At Edison Intermediate/Larson Middle School, students and staff wore "Choose Kind" shirts, and high school students visited each classroom.

The older students passed out pencils with "kindness matters" written on them and talked about why kindness is important to them, O'Shaughnessy said.

"We wanted to find ways to have our older students interacting more with younger students," she said. "They look up to the older students, and hearing the message from them is important."

Teachers, staff and students at Edison/Larson can nominate a student they see being kind during Kindness Week and through the month of February. In March, the students who are nominated will have a special lunch with principal Scott Stewart.

At the high school, teachers presented students with challenge sheets and "kindness matters" pencils.

"The sheets are a list of 50 small acts of kindness you can do -- maybe something as simple as giving someone a smile or holding a door for them," O'Shaughnessy said. "The challenge is to do as many of those acts as you can and check them off the list when you do them."

High school teachers also posted quotes about kindness in their classrooms, and the Key Club designed signs promoting kindness and hung them throughout the school, she said.

High school teachers and staff practiced what they were promoting on the last day of the week.

As students arrived for school Jan. 31, they were greeted by teachers and staff and received a cookie wrapped in a sleeve that read, "We appreciate you."

Districtwide, students were encouraged to make Jan. 30 a "no-homework night."

The special night was designed to encourage families to spend quality time together, O'Shaughnessy said.

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