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Special Edition KTS E-Newsletter
Peace and Kindness
Directors Note

Every May, The Katherine Thomas School has a Grandparents and Special Friends Day for the Lower and Middle School. On this day, our students show off their learning in our Academic Expo.  This year's theme, KTS' Journey Toward Peace and Kindness, was inspired by the work of Mattie J.T. Stepanek and Dr. Jeni Stepanek. Students explored and showcased their study of peace and kindness in various ways. The entire KTS community came together in exploring peace and kindness, strengthening our community, and making a kind community even kinder!
Nicole Abera, PhD,  
Director, Lower and Middle
School Programs
Rhona Schwartz, Director,
High School Program

Who was Mattie?
Mattie J.T. Stepanek, a well-respected poet and award-winning peace activist, lived a life that was brief in length but powerfully blessed with depth. Born on July 17, 1990, Mattie began creating and sharing Heartsongs at the young age of 3. He explained that Heartsongs are “gifts that reflect each person’s unique reason for being.” Mattie ultimately published six collections of his Heartsongs poetry books and one collection of Just Peace essays and e-mail correspondence with Former President Jimmy Carter. All seven of Mattie’s books became New York Times Bestsellers and touched millions of lives around the world. He was raised in Upper Marlboro, but later moved to Rockville. He died on June 22, 2004 due to complications of Dysautonomic Mitochondrial Myopathy.

Who is Dr. Jeni Stepanek, KTS' VIP Guest?
Dr. Jeni Stepanek, is an award-winning speaker and writer, is a noted advocate for personal and world peace, as well as for children’s and families’ needs and rights in health and education. She is also the author of the NY Times Bestselling book, Messenger: The Legacy of Mattie J.T. Stepanek and Heartsongs. Jeni’s inspirational messages about hope, peace, disability, grief, support, parenting, collaboration, and spirituality have been carried by all media outlets
Peace and Kindness Activities
The lower and middle school programs studied friendship for their peace and kindness projects. There were several kindness street signs placed throughout the school to add to the positive atmosphere. Quotes of kindness and peace were artfully arranged on the walls.
Pre-K - First Grade
The youngest grades read the book “What Does It Mean To Be Kind” and created friendship bracelets, created love cards for their parents, read the book “Rock On Kindness. Pass It On” and created beautiful artistic rocks to share, and read the book “Kindness Snippet Jar” and created a kindness recipe using symbols and their own definition of what kindness is to them. Guests were able to use this kindness recipe to make a delicious treat. 
Peace and Kindness Craftivity
Second and third grade students used children's literature to explore the different concepts of being peace and kindness advocates. Students first read The Jelly Donut Difference to get an idea and explore what kindness looks like. The students then dove into their own hearts to define what kindness means to them and how they perceive kindness. Following this brainstorming session, the students completed a craftivity sharing their thoughts. These craftivities were displayed on a bulletin board in the hallway. The students were then interviewed in a "cafe" (teachers lounge with a green screen) about kindness. To spread kindness with others in the classroom, the class read about how to fill each others' buckets and made a goal to do 20 different bucket-filling acts. 
Place of Peace Room
Fourth and Fifth graders created a “Place of Peace” room, including traced cut-outs of their bodies enrobed in poetry and focusing on acceptance. Students created a towering peace pole with poetry and messages of peace and love. 
Kindness Tree
Fifth and sixth grade students all decided that kindness could be shown in many different ways. They all agreed that you could be kind to your environment and to the people around you. They also know that even small acts of kindness can change a person’s day. Therefore, the students came up with ideas which encompass all that the students spoke about. For the environment, the students planted a kindness tree. Once the tree grows, the class will attach words of kindness on fabric to the tree so the birds can use it to make their nests. In the classroom, students had another tree where they wrote words of kindness to each other and where our visitors wrote words of kindness.  
Buddy Bench
The 7th graders created a buddy bench, which was brightly painted with pictures and inspirational and kind words to encourage friendship. A Buddy Bench is a bench that is put on a playground. When a student wants a friend to play with or someone to talk to, they sit on the buddy Bench. This will signal to their classmates that they need a Buddy.
Peace Garden
Eight graders started their peace and kindness project with a discussion on what they could do to bring peace to others. When they considered what peace meant to them, they thought of what they needed to find calmness and peace whenever they had been stressed out. They considered how to immediately bring peace to a visitor and then considered how to bring peace to the larger community. KTS had recently had a Subway lunch and noticed all the plastic bottles, so they thought they could use them to add to our effort to create a peaceful environment. They researched ideas on their use, and found the idea of growing plants, flowers, in them.  The students set up the classroom to bring calm and peace to our visitors. Then they explained their peace garden room and the creation of the planter bottles in a Google Slides presentation.  
Stepanek Inspiration Murals
Sixth, Seventh, and Eight Graders created informative murals about the inspiration for the peace and kindness theme: the Stepaneks. They gathered facts and posted interesting information and tidbits about Dr. Jeni Stepanek and Mattie Stepanek, such as their favorite books, interests, foods, tv shows, etc. to show the extraordinary individuals behind the peace and kindness magic. 
High School
The high school has also been focusing on the themes of kindness and peace. The tenth grade classes have been reading the epic novel,  The Odyssey . One of the themes in this exciting tale of adventure happens to be hospitality. As part of the students' learning about the context and culture of ancient Greece and the Mediterranean region, they hosted an enjoyable and instructive opportunity to show some hospitality by working with another class at a Greek themed "cultural experience." The culinary classes that met at the same time as the English classes prepared Greek/Mediterranean snacks for students to sample. The English classes created the decorations, dressed in togas and wore laurel wreaths, served the food, and played traditional Greek music while all the participants dined. As each visitor entered the room, they were greeted with an enthusiastic welcome and invited to enjoy the delicious food and companionship. Following the feast, the English 10 students presented a short skit about hospitality in  The Odyssey.   The event ended with some lively Greek dancing!   All truly enjoyed and learned from this experience.   
2019 TLC/KTS Spring/Summer Programs

We have several exciting variety of programs this fall!

Social & Emotional Skills Groups
5:30 to 6:30 pm
Ages: Elementary-Early Middle School
Location: Gaither Rd Office
Sign up:, 301.424.5200, ext. 226

Great and Small Therapeutic Horse Riding Camp
Session 1: 08/12/19 - 08/16/19
Session 2: 08/19/19 - 08/23/19
Contact Tina Morrissey for more info or to enroll: 301.424.5200 x141 or 

July 1 – August 9
M-F, 9am-3pm
Contact Dr. Nicole Abera, 301.738.9691 x205 or 

July 1 – August 9
M-F, 8am-2pm, or 8am-12:30pm
Contact Vanessa Vera, 301.738.9691 x126 or

Look at the website link for specific camp details

And more programs offered!
Call Lisa Torvik for more info, 301.424.5200 x306
Get outside and enjoy summer!
The Katherine Thomas School |301.738.9691 | Email KTS |
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