Beatrice Gilmore Named Mix It Up Model School!
For Immediate Release:
March 16, 2017
Beatrice Gilmore Recognized for Inclusion Efforts
Designated ‘Mix It Up’ Model School by the Southern Poverty Law Center
The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance program has named Woodland Park’s Beatrice Gilmore as a Mix It Up Model School for its exemplary efforts to foster respect and understanding among its students and throughout its campus during the 2016-17 school year.
Beatrice Gilmore is among 76 schools to receive the honor.
Mix It Up at Lunch day is a national campaign that launched in 2002 to help students demonstrate the importance of respecting each other’s differences. The Teaching Tolerance program has hosted Mix It Up at Lunch Day for the past 15 years. The 2017 event will be held on October 31.
Mix It Up at Lunch Day is a simple call to action. By asking students to move out of their comfort zones and connect with someone new over lunch, the event encourages students to identify, question and cross social boundaries. Many schools plan activities for the entire day, and some use the event to kick off yearlong explorations of social divisions.
The Mix It Up Model Schools met five criteria: They each hosted a Mix it Up at Lunch Day during the 2016-17 school year; they included different members of the school’s community—cafeteria staff, aides, administrators, teachers and students—in organizing the event; they followed up with at least two additional Mix It Up-related programs or events on campus; they publicized Mix It Up at Lunch Day or celebrated inclusiveness with posters, announcements and other media; and their event was seen by students and school officials as a success.
The first Mix It Up at Lunch Day at Beatrice Gilmore, which took place during ‘The Week of Respect’, was so successful that the school now holds one every month. On Mix It Up at Lunch Days, each student is given a colored card as they walk into the cafeteria. This colored card signifies a coordinating colored table where the student will sit that day. Each table is outfitted with fun conversation cubes to help foster discussion, create positive peer interactions, and build new relationships among the students. The school counselor, principal and lunch aides also help facilitate. Later in the year, Beatrice Gilmore celebrated ‘No-Name Calling Week’ by having daily announcements, including the reading of a student’s original writing about friendship. The gym teacher also used part of each gym class to dig into a lesson about speaking up in the face of name-calling.
“We commend our Mix It Up Model Schools for finding innovative ways to create environments where respect and inclusiveness are core values,” said Teaching Tolerance Director Maureen Costello. “Though Model Schools vary in size and demographics, they all serve as great examples of how a school—any school—can cultivate these values among their students, faculty and staff.”
Beatrice Gilmore is currently being featured on Teaching Tolerance's website at http://www.tolerance.org/mix-it-up/model-schools.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Montgomery, Ala., is a nonprofit civil rights organization that combats bigotry and discrimination through litigation, education and advocacy. For more information, see www.splcenter.org.