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Blacksburg New School Building

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We Believe: In Kindness

At Blacksburg New School, we believe in kindness. A core tenet of our Code of Conduct is “to be responsible, respectful, and kind.” In a safe and respectful learning environment our students are free to grow, explore, and thrive as they learn. We encourage students to be kind to each other, to themselves, to adults, and to their surroundings.


With our small student body, and small student-to-teacher ratio, we are able to devote time to reinforce and model all forms of kindness and compassion. Each year begins with our lead teacher’s famous “BNS Rules” video, which sets the tone for expectations of kindness in our community as a whole. Class meetings are held regularly in each grade level to discuss topics that emerge. Small gatherings and individual one-on-one meetings address other concerns as they arise and most issues are talked through in the moment. By having kindness as a foundational tenant to our school’s philosophy, we’re able to create a safe and inclusive learning environment.



Research has shown that kindness and positivity have a direct impact on educational success. Kindness improves self-esteem, provides more opportunities for concentration, and reduces depression in students (1). Being around kindness even releases the hormone oxytocin, which reduces stress levels (2). Maurice Elias, a professor at Rutgers University’s Department of  Psychology, says that “the mission of schools must include teaching kindness. Without it, communities, families, schools, and classrooms become places of incivility where lasting learning is unlikely to take place…Kindness can be taught, and it is a defining aspect of civilized human life. It belongs in every home, school, neighborhood, and society.” (3)


In schools that have large class sizes and more students, it can be difficult for teachers to spend the time needed to prioritize kindness. There may be other concerns such as getting through material and preparing students for standardized tests, or they may have a limited number of teaching staff burdened by other issues. We have heard numerous anecdotes from families in other schools about how much “meaner” students behave towards each other. And we often get mid-year transfer students, who view Blacksburg New School as a safe haven away from stressful behavioral issues in the public school. One recent visitor commented that at BNS, “everyone was different in their own ways and everyone was so nice to each other!” We know that all students are capable of learning to be kind, and are saddened by the fact that not all school environments are kind and caring centers for learning.


Here, at BNS, we do not tolerate unkind and aggressive behavior. We actively address any incidents that arise through policies laid out in our Code of Conduct. On a case-by-case basis we work on addressing and eliminating this behavior. That being said, there have been some instances in the past where we have made the difficult determination that a student does not have the necessary social skills, behavioral self-control, and commitment to kindness for enrollment to be successful. Kindness is a criterion for being a student here, and it guides all of our daily interactions.


Kindness is about helping students learn that they are special, but only as special as every other student. Kindness allows Blacksburg New School to provide a zone of learning that sits excitingly in the midst of relaxation and rigor. In a kind and compassionate environment,  students have the freedom to be themselves. At Blacksburg New School, we believe in kindness.



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Caption: "Kindness is the heart of our community at Blacksburg New School. In a safe and respectful environment, we empower students to grow, explore, and thrive. Join us in spreading kindness and creating a brighter future! 💙✨ #KindnessMatters #InclusiveEducation #SafeLearningEnvironment"


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