Student Leadership

Middle School is a time when there is significant change and growth: physically, emotionally, intellectually, and socially. It can be a confusing time, but also a special and magical time for students to learn more about themselves, explore and identify new passions and areas of interest, and also develop agency as learners.

Middle School is a time when students find their voice, and start to develop their leadership skills. At ISK, we believe in the power of amplifying and listening to student voice, and providing opportunities for students to expand and grow their leadership qualities. Our Middle School believes and promotes that ALL students can be leaders, and encourages all students to find a way to get involved, use their student voice, and find something they are interested in to expand and grow their leadership. We do not have an elected Student Council, for example, but instead provide a variety of opportunities for students to naturally grow as leaders based on their interests. Below are some of the examples of how students can grow their leadership.

Leadership Round Table

Every two to three weeks, we host a Leadership Round Table. This falls under the ‘Democracy’ pillar of Round Square, and we promote that any student can choose to participate in any of the sessions they choose. We share the topics that will be discussed, and use this as an opportunity to get student feedback and input about different aspects of life in the Middle School. The topics this year have included: feedback on our hybrid learning plan, input about how to stay connected and tend to the mental health of our community, feedback as we returned to face-to-face learning, input on the electives offerings for courses next year, and sharing thoughts on our schedule/time table. Students then report our conversation to the entire Middle School during assemblies, practicing their public speaking and presenting skills.

Student Leadership Seminar

Twice a year, we host a Leadership Seminar. This is also open to any students interested in attending, and has a different theme each time. The goal is to have fun and grow as student leaders through participation. We also try to dispel the myth that leaders are those who stand at the front and have the loudest voice, but instead, hope that all students will start to recognize their unique leadership gifts. The theme in December was around our Strategic Focus Area (SFA) for Wellbeing. Our upcoming Leadership Seminar in April will focus on our SFA for Inclusion.

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House Captains

The purpose of our House System is to connect and grow our community vertically across the Middle School. Each house has a few House Captains who come together regularly to plan fun events to support that goal. This year, that has included the Jerusalema Challenge, a Kahoot Challenge during the DDL, the Bottle Flip / Cone Flip activity when we were in Hybrid Learning, Hybrid Sports Day in December, socially distanced Noodle Tag and Drama Games in February, and most recently the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen (GISHWHES). We are so grateful for these community builders to help us have fun these Wednesday mornings. 

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Student Ambassadors

This group requires an application process, and provides service to our ISK community. Student Ambassadors provide tours to prospective families, support New Student Orientation, and act as ‘buddies’ to new students. Ambassadors work with our counselor to have regular training sessions, and also to continually support the overall culture and climate in our Middle School.

Social Justice Club

Some of our co-curricular offerings also provide amazing opportunities for students to grow their voice as leaders. The Social Justice Club is for students who are interested in equity and social justice work that can really impact both the ISK community and the world at large. Students meet each week and work collaboratively to learn about and promote social justice work within our community. This club is student-led and student-centered. Students have the opportunity to lead the Middle School in this work by creating a meaningful program for our advisory sessions related to identity, equity, and social justice every Thursday.

Proud To Be Me Day Planning

This group of student planners starts meeting in November to plan how the Middle School will celebrate our diversity and learn more about our identities on our annual Proud to Be Me Day. Students propose the different themes for the student-led workshops and then work with supporting teachers to develop meaningful activities to engage their peers. The purpose of this day is:

  • To raise awareness about different aspects of identity and how it contributes to our community’s diversity
  • To nurture an open mind and heart to expand our inclusive community
  • To increase awareness, acceptance, and a sense of belonging
  • Increase sensitivity about the impact of our actions and words

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Peace Day and Earth Day Planning Committees

International Day of Peace is on September 21st each year, and Earth Day is celebrated on April 22nd. A few weeks before these two dates, we put out a call for interested students to help us plan how we will honor and celebrate these important days as a Middle School community. How will we contribute to a more peaceful world? In what ways can we increase our environmental stewardship?

 

We also have ad hoc committees and opportunities that come up for students to get involved as leaders. Most recently, we extended an offer for interested students to join our Scheduling Committee, as we look to the 2021-22 school year and hope to design a timetable that will support our teaching and learning goals. It is important for us to not only support the growth of student leadership, but also to ensure we are listening carefully to student voices and experiences.

There are so many opportunities for our students to get involved, grow their leadership, and make a difference. We encourage all students to get involved and grow their leadership!

***With deep gratitude to Beth Coyle and Colleen Coady, who launched this model of student leadership at the American Embassy School in New Delhi, India. I have been so fortunate to learn from amazing models and mentors, and have seen this student leadership model to be powerful for Middle School Students.

Ignite & Connect Weekend Experiences 2021

Each September, our Middle School typically ventures outside the ISK campus to Ol Pejeta, Ngare Ndare Forest, and beyond for our annual InterCultural (IC) Trips. The trips have the goal to explore Kenyan culture, embrace adventure, engage in service, appreciate our natural surroundings, make social connections, and have fun outside the classroom walls. However, this year IC Trips were postponed due to the pandemic and distance learning. With the prospect that students wouldn’t return face-to-face until January (per the Kenya President’s directives), we decided we needed to think outside of the box.

In November, the Middle School put together a dream team of interested teachers to imagine up possibilities for the IC Trips and review if we thought such experiences were still manageable. As an initial part of our process, we gathered student input on their favorite parts of our annual InterCultural Trips. They shared: adventure, team building, fun, camping, and being with friends. With this criteria in mind (aside from the camping), and the prospect of not being allowed to travel off-campus for an overnight trip, the teacher committee started to imagine an experience that could meet these goals. We rebranded and repurposed IC from ‘InterCultural’ to ‘Ignite and Connect.’ We abandoned our normal goals, and instead had these objectives:

  • To have fun through adventure, challenge and outdoor active experiences
  • To connect with friends (old and new) and make time for community building

We reached out to the outfitters with whom we have trusted relationships for these annual trips: Rift Valley Adventures and Savage Wilderness, and they were on board for developing a creative alternative experience. [Side note: if you ever decide to visit Kenya for tourism and fun, in addition to amazing safaris, beautiful landscapes to explore, and the gorgeous coast, you should definitely consider RVA and Savage for adventure and fun!!]

As a part of our preparations, we also engaged all the ISK team members: from the Health Office, Security, COVID Compliance, Operations & Functions, Food Services, Child Protection, and more. We worked to design a safe and fun trip keeping in mind the 4 W’s –> 

Keeping our COVID regulations in mind, we designed an awesome weekend for our students. On 3 separate weekends, each grade level of the Middle School spent a weekend on campus – 8am-8pm on Saturday and 8am-4pm on Sunday (and then recovered with a ‘shifted weekend’ staying home the Monday and Tuesday that follows).

Saturday was an exploration of fun adventure activities, where we grouped students based on their friendship preferences as they rotated through 5 activities with the outfitters:

  • biking skills
  • a low ropes course
  • stand up paddle boarding
  • archery skills
  • abseiling (rappelling) off the roof our our new MS building

After the 1-hour rotations for each activity, we had down time to connect with friends (hanging out, table tennis, basketball, football, and more) in the late afternoon. We ordered pizza delivery, and then watched a movie on the big screen with popcorn as it got dark, and students also roasted marshmallows to make s’mores.

Sunday brought more fun, and we organized the day’s groups based on student choice for the activities. Sunday’s activities were ‘deep dives’, where students had the opportunity to explore for an extended 2.5 hour period of time 2 activities of their choice – they all selected 1 activity from our outfitters and 1 design challenge from our ISK teachers.

Sunday ended with students racing homemade ‘boats’ made of recycled bottles in a Recycling Regatta at the pool. Overall feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and we were thrilled to offer such an exciting, fun, and meaningful experience for our Middle School community! We definitely met our goals, and are so happy that we were able to dream up this creative innovation in spite of the COVID obstacles we are facing. We hope we can resume off-campus InterCultural Trips again next year, but are so pleased and proud for this incredible opportunity for our community to IGNITE and CONNECT!

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New MS Building!

We dreamed, we planned, we imagined possibilities, we considered our goals for teaching and learning and what that would look like for the physical environment…and then we waited for those dreams to become reality. What was expected to be a 2-year project ended up being only 1.5 years….even during a pandemic! We are thrilled that we were able to open our new middle school building in January 2021.

Our Priorities for the new MS Building:

  • Be accessible: Wheelchair and washroom access ADA code
  • Have an appealing design
  • Facilitate the ISK learning goals (ISK’s educational aims, personalized learning, inclusion, technology, integrated learning)
  • Reflect the Middle School philosophy – teaming/collaboration, meeting developmental needs of our students
  • Plan for growth, provide for an increase in student numbers
  • Embrace the natural environment
    • Have natural light, consider airflow and rain (have covering when walking between classes), consider weather
    • Incorporate elements that appreciate that we are in Kenya
  • Have flexible learning spaces – outside balconies, large spaces, flexible spaces outside the classroom
  • Fit in with the architecture of the school

Our new space has some incredible features – large classrooms with outside learning patios, glass doors that can be open for lots of airflow (we didn’t realize how good our planning was for a pandemic at the time!), a teaching kitchen, a multi-purpose space, a black box theater, a gorgeous conference room on the roof with glass walls amidst the treetops, a life-centered education room as we launch our more intensive needs program for grades 6-9 next year, and 6 large open-air roof top spaces that have proven to be invaluable for lunch rotations and other safe uses for larger groups as we welcomed students back on campus in the pandemic. We are still waiting for a few of the spaces to be completed….stay tuned – will add pics of the kitchen, MPR, and black box when complete!

We are in love with our new space and are thrilled that the opening coincided with welcoming students back on campus (our 6th and 7th grade students hadn’t been on campus for 10 months, per Kenyan mandate!). We look forward to getting our parents on campus at some point, and also the Grand Opening Ceremony in March.

Enjoy these photos to get a glimpse of our incredible teaching and learning spaces. A great place to spend our days with students!

3rd Annual Proud To Be Me Day

On Friday January 22nd, we ran a special schedule in the Middle School to celebrate our 3rd annual Proud To Be Me Day. On this day, students rotated through student-led workshops on different aspects of identity/diversity. The purpose of this day is: 

To raise awareness about different aspects of identity and how it contributes to our community’s diversity

To nurture an open mind and heart to expand our inclusive community

To increase awareness, acceptance, and a sense of belonging

Increase sensitivity about the impact of our actions and words

To ground our students, we reviewed ground rules for safe spaces for these discussions —->

Our student planning committee worked hard developing meaningful activities to engage our community. The themes they chose for this year were: racism / racial identity, gender identity, sexual identity, and body image. 

These are important conversations that we strongly believe are essential for nurturing open-minded, social justice-fighting, global citizens. These align with our ISK values related to diverse identities, acceptance, love, respect, and how to be more inclusive. At ISK we believe in the importance of standing up against micro-aggressions and slurs, expanding our minds and hearts to be more inclusive and accepting, and working towards being more anti-racist. Here is a Micro-Aggressions Hyperdoc Lesson we did with students in December to lay foundation work.

Following is a snapshot of the student-led workshops. They also got creative and incorporated some super fun aspects – a fire to throw their negative societal body perceptions into, gender-bread cookies for the gender identity workshop, and skittles for each student in the sexual identity workshop.

Body Image:  (PDF of student presentation)

In this session, students learned about the harm of society, self and other projections about what our bodies are supposed to look like. Students learned to not make assumptions, and ended the session focusing on body positivity by burning a piece of paper with what society has made us think is negative about our own bodies.

Impact of Body Image for Girls

Gender Identity: (PDF of student presentation)

In this session, students started with a focus on harmful gender stereotypes. They learned that gender is a societal construct, and looked at different gender norms over history. Students then engaged in an activity of designing their own ‘Gender-Bread’ cookie, where the ultimate message is that we all need to be ourselves, not who society tells us we should be because of our perceived gender.

Racial Identity and Racism: (PDF of student presentation)

Students completed a survey earlier this week that provided helpful data to understand the experience of our students related to racism at ISK. They defined racism and prejudice, and also talked about the danger of racial slurs. Students then engaged in a discussion game, and ended the session focusing on how to become an anti-racist.

Sexual Identity: (PDF of student presentation)

In this session, students learned what the different letters of LGBTQ stand for, studied different scenarios, and considered the harm of related common micro-aggressions. 

Identity, Diversity & Cultural Competence

Celebrating Proud to Be Me Day

This year we hosted our second annual Proud to Be Me Day in February. Our student leaders (and teacher supporters) guided our Middle School through important conversations about body image, language, neurodiversity, and assumptions/expectations through student-led workshops on February 14. The goal was to empower students with knowledge and awareness to be upstanders in our community, as well as promote inclusion and acceptance.

In the week leading up to the workshops, we hosted parent and community member Lilly Bekele-Piper to a MS Assembly, where we were a part of a live audience podcast recording. Listen to the 30-minute podcast Cross Cultural Kids: Developing Identity

Below is a glimpse into some aspects of the workshops so that you can continue to emphasize some of our messaging at ISK in a partnership around inclusion, acceptance, and embracing our diverse identities.

Neurodiversity

They watched a 1.5 – minute video to empathize and understand the challenges of a student on the autism spectrum. And also this Not Special Needs 1.5 minute video.

Top tips to be a supportive classmate of neurodiverse students:

  • Listen and pay attention- Pay attention both to verbal communication (words) and nonverbal communication (voice quality and body language).

  • Use a calm voice and be reassuring.

  • Keep your manner encouraging rather than correcting.

  • Be sensitive to the tone of voice.

  • Don’t rush; trust is built slowly.

  • Encourage self-advocacy and opportunities for independence.

  • Treat each person as an individual with talents and abilities deserving of respect and dignity.

  • Give extra time for the person to process what you are saying and to respond.

  • Look for signs of stress and/or confusion.

Body Image

Body Image: A person’s ideas of the attractiveness of their own body. It involves how a person sees themselves, compared to the standards that society sets for us.

They watched part of these: Stay Beautiful: Ugly Truth in Beauty Magazines and You’re More Beautiful Than You Think

Students ended the session with writing statements based on the following prompts:

  • I love __________. (A statement about your physical appearance)

  • I love that my body can _________. (A statement about your body’s ability)

Language

Students brainstormed words they hear around school, and then answered the following prompts:

  • Look at each word. Choose one and explain how it makes us feel.

  • Think of an impact that word or another word has on an individual and community.

  • When we use derogatory language, do the words we use really express what we intend to say?

  • What alternatives do we have?

  • Notice that many of the words are directed toward girls/women. How does that make you feel? Girls? Boys- how would you like it if someone said that to a woman in your life (mom, grandma, auntie, sister)?

  • If you could exchange that hurtful word for an empowering word, what word would it be?

In a closing activity, students wrote a hurtful word on the slip of paper. And then, they wrote a positive replacement word on the other side of the slip of paper. And then they videoed each student turning their negative word over to the positive word.

Here are two videos that complemented this session: How Words Can Hurt, Peter Limthongviratn, Ted Talk and My Language, My Choice

Assumptions & Expectations

This workshop started with riddles and partial pictures to examine the assumptions we make and our hidden biases.

Here is a video they watched: Do Your Assumptions Affect How You Treat People?

In closing, students wrote about:

  • A time someone made an assumption about ME.

  • A time that you made an assumption about someone else.

Diversity Committee Teacher and TA Workshops

The ISK teacher and TA Diversity Committee have been hard at work this year to deepen and grow ISK’s cultural competence. There have been several recent high impact training sessions.

Power, Privilege, Purpose Workshop

Power, Privilege, Purpose – offered by Sagda Khalil and Amin Hussain of https://www.indigeniuseducation.com/ – is part one of a three-part workshop that focuses on heightening the critical consciousness of our teachers and promoting culturally relevant and responsive teaching. All teachers attended this workshop about a month ago. We had an overwhelming response from teachers across the school who felt genuinely impacted, inspired and moved. Teachers expressed a strong desire to learn more about Culturally Relevant and Responsive Pedagogy (CRRP). Teachers described the workshop as “transformative,” “enlightening,” “engaging,” and “thought-provoking.”

Teachers Teaching Teachers Workshops Through the Theme: Diversity

Mid-February, the Diversity Committee hosted ten different workshops, where teachers and TAs had a choice of which to attend. These workshops were all under the theme of diversity, and were also well received. Here is a breakdown of the workshops that were offered.

Supporting our Students:

  • Transcending the Single Story.

  • How to Facilitate Challenging Conversations.

  • Neurodiversity: Understanding Our Students’ Needs

  • Establishing Trust with Parents.

  • Supporting Gender and Transgender Through the Use of our Words.

  • Sensory Integration and Movement to Enhance Learning.

Culturally Competent Community:

  • Community Circle – Discuss issues that teachers/ TAs think need to be addressed in our community.

Instructional Practices:

  • Honoring our Truths Through Literature.

  • Embedding Diversity in Curriculum and Lessons: Beyond Content.

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AISA Women in Leadership

I was fortunate to attend my second Women in Leadership training with Pauline O’Brien of CIS at the recent AISA 50th Anniversary Conference. Following are my notes and key takeaways.

 

It is important to consider when it is necessary to elaborate and be nurturing, and when I need to speak to the point, with authority, and with confidence.

***How do we as women build each other up and celebrate each other, rather than cut each other down?

Mark Logan – Why Can’t Women Lead?

From Joan Williams, Rachel Dempsey & Ann-Marie Slaughter’s book What Works for Women at Work, there are 4 patterns in the workplace:

  1. prove it again bias
  2. tightrope
  3. maternal wall
  4. tug of war

Owning our why…what brought us here. What compels us to lead? When thinking about the possibility of going into a headship, here are some desired characteristics, as well as potential questions that might be asked in the interview process.

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And here are some other random tidbits and knowledge nuggets…

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NASSP Principal of the Year Institute 2019

I had the great honor of being one of two Department of State Office of Overseas Schools principals who was recognized as a Secondary School Principal of the Year. I share that honor with Joelle Basnight, currently the High School Principal at the American International School of Chennai. The two of us were joined by 50 other recognized principals from each state in the USA for a week of professional learning and celebration in Washington DC from September 30 – October 4.

Over the course of the week we were able to network with colleagues, ground in our WHY, reflect on how to advocate for things we believe in, and celebrate the important work we are engaging in.

To start the week, we established our individual and collective WHY. Here is what our whole Principal Institute came up with: Empower students in a safe & equitable community, inspiring hope & belonging through radical love & caring relationships so each student will reach their potential through opportunities and access.

We had a lovely evening on the Monument Moonlight Bus Tour:

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While the 50 state winners went to Capitol Hill to advocate with their senators and congressmen/women, Joelle and I had a wonderful day at the Department of State with Tom Shearer, Mary Russman, Robin Heslip and Bea Cameron. We had a great tour of the 8th floor, and learned all about the history and antiques in this important space. We also met with Assistant Secretary of State for Administration, Carrie Cabelka. She presented us with a lovely certificate and also had lunch with us on the 8th floor. In the afternoon, we visited a newly opened public high school in Arlington that has some cool architecture, creative use of spaces, and also a Eunice Shriver Special Education Center. Check out these great photos of the recognition ceremony and our time with folks from the State Department.

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#poy2019 #poy19 #nassp

The International Educator: Diversity

This year, I changed my topic for my dissertation. I had done quite a bit of work on a review of literature last summer looking into the role of school leaders promoting psychological safety and how it can impact organizational learning in international school settings. However, with the work we are doing at ISK to explore diversity and cultural competency, I thought it might be interesting and timely to shift topics and further explore this new idea for my research. This felt risky and like diving into a totally new area of research, however I knew it would also be interesting and important. While I am passionate about equity and inclusive practices, I had not previously devoted as much time reading in this area. I have spent lots of time looking for ways to nurture acceptance and belonging, to create a positive school climate where everyone feels included, to consider a social justice approach to ensure our students learn about their social responsibility as global citizens….

So this year I started venturing into the work and reading. It started with co-chairing the ad-hoc Diversity Working Group (DWG) at ISK, consisting of parents, students, teachers, admin and board members. In early November, I presented with my director, David Henry, at the GRC recruiting conference in Dubai at the leadership huddle about our work. I then attended the NAIS People of Color Conference in Nashville, Tennessee at the end of November, which was an amazing learning experience! As our work continued, Pamela Pappas (the other co-chair of the DWG committee) and I realized that we wanted to share our learning and our journey. We tried to get published in the April edition of the Educational Leadership magazine, but our work didn’t get accepted. We did, however, get published in The International Educator. Check it out:

Cultivating the Courage to Listen and the Ability to Hear: Systematically exploring diversity at the International School of Kenya through an an ad hoc Diversity Working Group

Proud to Be Me Day: Celebrating Diversity and Identity in the ISK Middle School

ISK Middle School Construction Project

It has been so exciting for the last two years to be a part of designing a purpose-built middle school. The building project will take two years, with an expected move in of August 2021. Check out these great images of our new building plan.

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Last year, we convened a Middle School Building Design Committee to start dreaming and prioritizing our hopes for a new Middle School building. We were told to dream big, and that we did! We started our process with grounding in our ISK Mission and Vision and Educational Aims. We then considered the ISK pathways (integrated, personalized and experiential), in conjunction with our overarching goals around teaching and learning. The Committee based their work on best practices, referring to The Association for Middle Level Education and looking at images of other exemplar Middle Schools. The architect worked with the Committee, as well as meeting with various stakeholder groups to gather input and feedback to develop a concept design. With that in mind, we developed our design priorities.

Our Priorities for the new MS Building:

  • Be accessible: Wheelchair and washroom access ADA code
  • Have an appealing design
  • Facilitate the ISK learning goals (Aims, personalized learning, inclusion, technology, integrated learning)
  • Reflect the Middle School philosophy – teaming, meeting developmental needs
  • Plan for growth, provide for an increase in student numbers
  • Embrace the natural environment
    • Have natural light, consider airflow and rain (have covering when walking between classes), consider weather
    • Incorporate elements that appreciate that we are in Kenya
  • Have flexible spaces – outside balconies, large spaces, flexible spaces outside the classroom
  • Fit in with the architecture of the school

Our Middle School Building Design Committee continued our work this past year as well. With the concept designs firmly in place, our work this year was to refine the detail designs for the various learning spaces. The architect worked with the Committee and others to fine tune the details of what each learning space would look like.

All of this resulted in designing a gorgeous middle school that will include some spectacular features, such as a Life Centered Education Room (to continue supporting our goals around inclusion at ISK), a Teaching Kitchen with multiple cooking bays, a Black Box Theater, a Middle School Multi-Purpose Space, teaching spaces on the roof, balconies on each classroom to take advantage of the beautiful weather of Kenya and extend our teaching and learning spaces, flexible learning spaces and more. We also paired our project with the need for new High School Science Labs, and Dr. Blanchard and the HS Science Team went through a similar process to develop the designs for state of the art science spaces. We are so excited for this purpose-built school that will support our ISK goals for meaningful learning experiences for students.

We are pleased with the results and we have just broken ground on this exciting project. See photos below of our Groundbreaking Ceremony on June 3, 2019 and the building of our displacement classes.

 

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Proud to Be Me Day

Each year at ISK, we celebrate International Day in January/February. It is a proud celebration of our rich diversity, often with over 80 different nationalities represented from PreK to grade 12. It is a coordinated event, with a Parade of Flags in the afternoon that the whole school participates in, followed by an after school Taste of Nations event hosted by the PTO. While the event is fabulous and promotes pride, diversity and how it makes our community special, some critique in the past has been the extent that it is a more shallow celebration of our diversity, only focusing on “Food, Flags and Fun”.

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This year, I was looking to expand our celebration of diversity and identity beyond the International Day parade of our nationalities. Then, two 8th grade students approached me with a similar request: to expand our celebration on International Day to also honor the other aspects of our identity through student-planned and -led workshops. We ended up getting at total of 13 students and 13 teachers to prepare 4 different workshops to our entire middle school. See details below.

Purpose:

  • To raise awareness about different aspects of identity and how it contributes to our community’s diversity
  • To nurture an open mind and heart to expand our inclusive community
  • To increase awareness, acceptance, and a sense of belonging
  • Increase sensitivity about the impact of our actions and words

Preparation for Proud to Be Me Day

Proud to Be Me Day — January 25, 2018
8:20-9:00 Opening Assembly

  • Acceptance, Inclusion, Sense of Belonging
  • Our diversity is made up of so many identifiers
  • Arts: poems, spoken word, artwork, music
  • Ground Rules
9:15-9:45 Workshop Session #1
10:00-10:30 Workshop Session #2
10:45-11:15 Workshop Session #3
11:15-12:00 Lunch
12:00-12:30 Workshop Session #4
12:45-1:30 Advisory Debrief – then prep for Parade of Nations
2:00-3:20 Parade of Nations
3:30-5:00 Taste of Nations

Essential: need to establish ground rules so that everyone feels safe.

Each grade is broken into 4 groups and rotate through 4 different workshops.

  • 6th grade has 4 groups
  • 7th grade has 4 groups
  • 8th grade has 4 groups

There are 3 workshops of each topic happening at the same time. 12 total workshops at any given time. Each of the 12 presenters gives their presentation 4 times throughout the day.

Neuro-diversity Group: Learning differencespresentation & lesson plan

Inclusion everywhere and every day. This group hopes to advocate for all of the different ways people think and learn. Student and teacher presenters will create empathy, acceptance, and understanding through hands-on activities that promote all types of learners in our school.

Gender – presentation & lesson plan

This workshop will examine gender stereotypes for both boys and girls. Students will also explore the topic of gender equity and look for opportunities to break down generalizations and biases.

Racepresentation & lesson plan

This workshop will raise student awareness about racial identity. The big takeaways students are hoping for are:

  • Students will understand that we shouldn’t make assumptions based on appearances;
  • Race identity is complex, especially in our globalized setting and international schools like ours, where we have many mixed-race students;
  • Students will understand the dangers of generalizations and stereotypes; and
  • We will acknowledge what is okay and what is not okay; looking for how to ensure we are not offensive and understand the impact of our language and actions.

LGBTQ presentation & lesson plan

This workshop will raise awareness about LGBTQ and the power of our words/actions. It will also seek to increase acceptance and respect. Students will uncover stereotypes, offensive language and also understand that the conversation about sexuality is still evolving in some counties, like Kenya.

It was a fantastic day and a great way to start conversations about identity, acceptance, raise awareness, and seek ways to expand our inclusion and sense of belonging. Check out some of these great ‘takeaways’ from students from one of the workshops.

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