High School Students Take ELL to the Next Level in Kindness Project

July 10, 2018

Video courtesy of the KIND Foundation.

Every year, The KIND Foundation – a nonprofit organization started by KIND Healthy Snacks – and Making Caring Common – a project of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education – host the KIND Schools Challenge, a nationwide contest to foster kinder and inclusivity in schools.

“We went out there seeking ideas from students across the country to come up with ideas of how they can continue to make their schools kinder, more caring, and more inclusive,” said Dana Rosenburg, the Director of the Kind Foundation.

Dana shared that “nearly 200 hundred ideas were submitted” and her team had the difficult task of selecting the ten finalists who would receive support and funding from the KIND foundation to realize their projects. One project stood out amongst the rest!

The finalists and Kind Challenge winners Rubia Fernandes, Luiza Barbosa, and Jenna Agnone, 11th graders from Medford High School, along with Michael Skorker – their faculty advisor – brought their school together by offering a way for new English Language Learner (ELL) students to navigate their community.

When asked about his vision for the future, Mr. Skorker said, “My goal as an educator is to make sure that when these students leave the high school that they become the best possible people for our society. To make our society be a better place. To help other people. To continually ask themselves “What can I do to make this world a better place.”

Left to Right: Kind Challenge winners Luiza, Jenna, Rubia, and their faculty advisor, Michael Skorker

To make the transition of their peers more comfortable and less stressful, the young winners, two of whom were ELL students in the past, created videos in seven different languages explaining everything from opening your locker to obtaining a bus pass.

The young girls recognized that there was a need for more resources for their ELL peers after their own experience with language barriers in school. “We realized that we both were ELL students at one point or another and we know that it was difficult,” said Rubia. “We thought that creating videos would be a way we can easily teach students how to do things around our high school.”

The three students will each receive $1,000. Their instructional videos and website will be shown to ELL students and parents during ninth grade orientation and will be integrated into the ELL curriculum starting next school year.

To learn about the winning project and how to bring more kindness into any classroom, check out this toolkit.