Schools Should Include Everyone

by Carol Kocivar | December 2, 2017 | 1 Comment
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Is it Cool to be Mean?

There is a mean streak in popular culture, isn't there? It hurts.

Schools are better places for learning when all children feel included. It doesn't just happen; schools have to work at it.

The first week of December each year is Inclusive Schools Week, a time to celebrate progress in making schools welcoming for all students. The theme this year is "standing up for inclusion." Here are ideas your school might want to try. (Suggested by

  • Hold a "speed-friending" event like the one used by Galileo High School in San Francisco.
  • Establish a "Five Minutes for Friendship" ritual each day. Have students pair up with classmates on a rotating basis. Provide a topic for the pair to discuss for five minutes. Ask a few pairs to share their conversation with the class.
  • Display student artwork and projects around the school. Projects might include "what makes me special" essays, name histories, or family trees.
  • Ask students to write about a time that they didn’t feel included in a group. Talk about how it made them feel. Ask them how their experiences relate to anyone who is perceived as different and what challenges they might face in a school setting.
  • Read and discuss poetry that focuses on creating and maintaining unity among different groups of people.

You can find more Celebration ideas here.

Although Inclusion Week is a good time to raise awareness, consistency is key to making your school welcoming.

Is your school inclusive? How do you know? Does your school use a school climate survey to ask students and faculty how included they feel at your school? How does your school use the findings to improve?

Questions & Comments

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Iris December 5, 2017 at 10:38 am
Wonderful article! Our school district celebrates Words Matter Week during the first week of February, which started as an initiative from our San Ramon Valley Council of PTAs in 2013. We’ve had fantastic student and teacher led inclusion activities and great parent engagement in our Words Matter Week program. Here’s a link to our website for a bit more info:
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