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Building a Culture of Kindness and Compassion



Superintendent Mike Nelson works diligently to foster a culture that builds kindness and compassion in every adult and child throughout our District. Each school has a unique approach to teaching and sharing this ideal. A few of our students and staff share their thoughts and strategies in this short video. If you have questions about how your child's school builds a culture of kindness and compassion, please ask the school principal!

Video Transcript
Mike Nelson, Superintendent [standing in the Enumclaw High School (EHS) Commons during Hornet Days in August, 2017] We're so excited to begin the 2017-2018 school year here in the Enumclaw School District. One of the strands that runs through our school district constantly, kindergarten through 12th grade, is a strand of compassion and kindness. And so what you are going to see with the different speakers around are all of the different programs and activities and strategies that we do to try and build that culture within our students and within our faculty so everybody can be successful.

Sara Mongrain, EHS Alum and EHS Math Teacher [standing in the EHS Commons during Hornet Days] So I'm an alum of Enumclaw High School. I graduated in 2012 and I absolutely loved my high school school experience. I wouldn't come back here as a teacher if I didn't. And I just love that this school focuses on kindness and being kind to one another and building that culture of kindness and compassion.

Dave Stokke, EHS Leadership Teacher [standing in the EHS Commons during Hornet Days] In our leadership program here at the high school, we're really focusing right now on character education. You know I've been in education a long time and I've seen the pendulum kind of go back and forth. Whatever we can do with clubs, activities, sports, teaching it helps those kids develop it. And I think it fits the Enumclaw philosophy of all students achieving at high levels.

Aaron Lee, EHS Principal [standing in the EHS Commons during Hornet Days] Well Enumclaw is a really special place and it's special because of the people that are here. We care about the whole child. We care about test scores. We care about keeping kids on the forefront of learning, but what we really care about is the whole child that leaves the school. We want every kid to have an enjoyable experience here, and we do that for our adults. So it's a special place, and I love it here.

Kayla, EHS student [standing in the EHS Commons during Hornet Days] Honestly all the upper class men are so nice to younger ones even though at times they will give you a hard time just talk. But everyone is just really friendly here, and I don't really notice any bullying. It's just everybody seems so happy here even if it's school.

Terry Johnson, EHS History Teacher [standing in the EHS Commons during Hornet Days] This is one of the few places that I've been where kids are actually somewhat excited to return to school, and I think that's just a testament to the culture and the type of people that are here. You know as a basketball program we're trying to compete but do it with our values and our core values of kids who are humble, who are passionate, who work hard, who serve others, who are building for the future for themselves and others.

Foster, EHS student [standing at the entrance to the EHS Commons] The culture here at Enumclaw School District is pretty unique. I'd say our school is a little more closely knit, and when you walk around, you are always greeting people and meeting new people, and you always have a good conversations, and there is always a good kind of energy around.

Karl Karkainen, Enumclaw Middle School (EMS) Leadership Teacher [standing in his classroom with the words Choose Love on the whiteboard] So our theme for this year at EMS is Choose Love, and what we mean by Choose Love is that we're going to make a conscious choice everyday to help other people out, serve other people, no matter what we feel at times.

Ember, EMS student [standing in the EMS Library with the Safe Schools Training ocurring in the background] So Safe Schools Ambassadors is about teaching kids how to respond to bullying and how to help others feel like they can actually get help from bullying, so that way they don't feel unsafe at school.

Maddy, EMS student [standing in the EMS Library with the Safe Schools Training occurring in the background] Not just at schools, but in the community and our sports, and our churches, and our schools obviously, and just community events like food drives and everything that we just make people feel welcome in Enumclaw and everywhere else.

Payton, EHS student [standing outside during band practice] So some of the events that kind of show this culture or brought me into it were the Thanksgiving Food Drive where our whole leadership class, or most of the girls, we went together and packaged all the food. And then we got to see how the community could come in and get it and everybody was so excited to have a Thanksgiving meal.It felt good to provide them with that and know that you are making a difference doing that.

Jessica Kelly, Westwood Elementary Counselor [standing in the hallway] If a student gets in trouble, instead of punishing them, we teach them and see it as a teaching moment. We try to focus on the positives and notice what they did well that day and talk about goal setting for the next day and how they can do better next time.

Scott Meyer, Westwood Elementary Principal [walking in the hallway between buildings] What we're trying to do here is create a school environment where every kid wants to be, wants to come and have fun and learn. Our goal is to create an inclusive community here for our students where everyone wants to like I said and everyone wants to come and learn.

Lisa Phinisee, EHS Office Manager [sitting at her desk] I haven't met anyone yet that did not buy into this vision. It is, I'm telling you, it's infectious.

Mike Nelson, Superintendent [standing in the Enumclaw High School (EHS) Commons during Hornet Days] I think what you're going to see in our system is adults working with kids, kids working with kids in order to create and have this culture of kindness and compassion be spread throughout our entire system. Our hope is that this ripples into our community as well.