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Posted October 28, 2016

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Kindness

Supt. Reedy encourages the APS community to shake off the negative presidential campaign by joining the ABQKindness initiative.

With fewer than two weeks left of what can only be described as an unforgettable election season, I can’t help but wonder what impact this campaign has had on our youth.

One of our many goals as educators is to graduate students who understand and appreciate democracy and the responsibilities that come with citizenship, but I can see why some might shy away from political lessons this year. My hat’s off to those brave souls who chose to tackle this topic – teachers like Russell Thompson at Desert Ridge Middle School who have found a way to help students learn about and even come to appreciate the electoral process.

“We’ve all been inundated by politics, and the kids see and hear it all,” Russell said. “They hear the inappropriate comments and jokes; they laugh at the cringe-worthy memes that are posted to social media; they watch as grownups who have always told them to treat each other with respect and to appreciate each other’s differences do just the opposite.” 

Russell says the trick to teaching during this volatile election season has been to remain non-partisan while discussing difficult topics with students.

“That’s how democracy thrives,” he said. “We don’t have to agree, but we do need to listen to each other and be respectful of conflicting views. I can teach that without having to bring in some of the language and topics that are dominating the news but are inappropriate for the classroom.”

These type of lessons are happening at the elementary schools, too. MacArthur Elementary first grade teacher Cheryl McElheney took the time to organize a mock election. Students gave speeches, put up posters and encouraged their classmates to vote. Cheryl deserves a lot of credit for introducing young students to the election process. Years from now they may remember this as their first foray into public policy.  

While I, too, have chosen to take the high road when discussing this election, I am going out on a limb to make an endorsement. I endorse civility. I endorse acceptance. I endorse kindness. The ABQKindness initiative, that is. 

Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry has launched a campaign designed to promote, record and celebrate one billion acts of kindness in our city. We easily have that many kind acts occur in our schools each year. 

So why not take part in this good-hearted competition. What better way to shake off the negativity of the presidential campaign than to focus on being good to each other? 

You can go here to get more information on the ABQKindness initiative and to download an app that will help you track acts of kindness.   

How refreshing, especially now. I want to personally thank Mayor Berry for making Albuquerque Public Schools a part of this campaign. And I want to thank each of you who plan to take part, too. Here’s our chance to truly model good citizenship.

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