Letters to Miss Kendra

The students are invited to write letters or draw pictures about their worries to Miss Kendra. A special mailbox, envelope, and stamp is provided. Miss Kendra (our staff) writes back supportive letters to each child, emphasizing 1) emotional literacy by using emotion words, 2) encouraging a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset regarding coping with their problems, 3) strengthening empathic skills by reflecting on the inner world of Miss Kendra and the student, and 4) encouraging improved penmanship. Students read their letters to the others and talk about the meaning of Miss Kendra's List.

The 5,436 letters we received in 2013-2014 are poignant and powerful expressions of emotion, difficult events, and requests for help by the students. By the end of the year, evidence was accumulating that this activity was improving reading ability among the younger students. 

Dear Ms Kendra,

When I get bullyed I feel like i mean nothng to the world i’m just a piece of trash waiting to get swept up and be put in a trash can where i belong away from everyone and when i see people get bullyed i help them and tell them stand up for your self and don’t let them get to you and there’s this song thats called little me by little mix that talks about bullying. When people get bullyed the people who are bullying them there just hurt so they hurt others.

Love, Nuresh

Dear Miss Kendra,

One time where I had to be strong was where my mom’s old boyfriend Jimmie physically abused me and he picked me up by my neck, choked me, and threw me down the stairs, he punched a hole in my door he would steel money out of my moms purse and he threatened me if i told anybody he was abusing me he would kill me and my family and I felt that i had to stay strong and not tell anybody.

  Sincerely,  Charlie

Dear Ms. Kendra,

  Happy Thanksgiving! to you. Can I ask you something, here it goes. What are you thankful for?  Because I am thankful for your list that you gave us. :) um so when can you visit us i know that we are sending you very nice letters but can you visit us please :) you want us to be safe in our school we are all ready doing that. very safe. :)  thank for careing for us to be safe. :)  i will like to meet you in person.  Right more letters again.

Love, Sarah

Dear Ms. Kendra,

Thank you for the awesome letter its’ actually pretty good it helps me feel better about my dad, i haven’t been crying now. Can I have your kid’s name and can i have a red bead someone took my other one but if you give me a new one i will keep it on every day even when i’m in the shower even when i’m going to bed.  Because that letter meant everything to me.

  Sincerely,  Marissa

Dear Miss Kendra,

 if I was to add something to your list it would be every child should keep their hands to themselfs and something else I want to add on to your list is every child should not be punched or kicked.  Can i tell you something?  What is your dog’s name because I have another good name like Fussy Dog or Emely or other different kind of name. lets’ add more I want to say no child should be scared of the dark and no child should be mean to people for no reason, no child should be hit or kicked in their stomach or no child should bring fake guns to school or no child should bring knives in their backpack to school or no child should not punch anybody especially in their private parts or in their neck no child should treat people with no respect.



Animating Learning by Integrating and Validating Experience (ALIVE), 19 Edwards Street, New Haven, CT 06511          Ph: 203-624-2146