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15th Annual ‘Mix It Up at Lunch Day’ Encourages Inclusive School Climate Year-Round

Tuesday, October 25 marks the 15th annual “Mix It Up at Lunch Day,” a day sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project to encourage students to mix it up by meeting someone new outside of their day-to-day cliques.

"Since its inception in 2002, educators across the country have used the event to help foster welcoming school environments for all students,” said the Southern Poverty Law Center in a statement.

Although designed as a day-long event, the SPLC says that many schools use practices learned from the day to implement “year long explorations of social divisions.”

Indeed, SPLC highlights some of these schools—referred to as “model schools”—on its website.

In order to become a model school, schools must participate in a Mix It Up at Lunch Day and follow-up with two additional programs or events that similarly focus on inclusiveness. Model schools, the site says, must promote their efforts with the use of multiple school community members and utilize publicized campaigns to get the word out.

Anecdotal stories from model schools featured on SPLC’s site include stories of lasting friendships, school-wide reflection and overall improved strengthened school cultures.

The full list of model schools can be found here.

“By breaking out of their comfort zones to get to know someone new, students are much more able to see each other as individuals and not just members of separate groups,” said Teaching Tolerance Director Maureen Costello in a statement.

“These positive interactions among students can help reduce prejudice, stereotypes and bullying,” she said.

If your school is interested in participating in tomorrow’s event, an 18-minute webinar, posted below, is designed to help get started.

Teaching Tolerance has also designed a six-step plan that can easily guide any school's implementation process: 

  1. Create a planning group
  2. Determine a lunchtime activity
  3. Make it festive
  4. Publicize the event
  5. Capture the day with pictures and video
  6. Evaluate, debrief and follow up

Check out additional resources and how to register here. 

 

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

10/24/2016

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