Monday, April 8, 2013

R-Word Campaign

I know it’s been a little while, but I was waiting for the month of March to end so I could tell you all about everything at one time.

As many of you know, I am the NJHS Advisor at the middle school. Our middle school started a campaign last year called Check it at the Door. It is a campaign where we teach and model to students about leaving all prejudices, bullying, etc. outside the school building. NJHS had the month of March and we focused on the R-Word Campaign.

We started off our campaign by having a school wide assembly. I introduced myself and spoke about the girls. Some of my NJHS members introduced students in our school that have various disabilities. The point was to show the students that even though they may look different or need different things to get by in life, they are still interested in many of the same sports, music, hobbies, etc. We also had a guest speaker! His name was Shane. He is a Special Olympic Athlete and attends a high school at one of our neighboring counties. He spoke about the sports he plays and the Olympic medals he has won. Then, he spoke about what the r-word means to him. We wanted to show the student body that everyone should be treated equally and just as nicely as the next person. This may only be my 5th year teaching middle school, but that assembly was the BEST assembly I have ever been to. I have never heard those kids so quiet and responding so well at appropriate times.

During the rest of the week, my NJHS students set up in the cafeteria during lunch shifts and asked students to sign the banner to pledge to “Spread the Word to End the Word.” When students signed the banner, they received a wonderful bracelet to show their support and share their accomplishment with others.

The rest of the month consisted of little ideas, such as passing out yellow and blue pencils on World Down Syndrome Day, wearing crazy socks on World Down Syndrome Day, and conducting a door decorating contest for those teachers/classes that chose to participate. There was no prize, just a ribbon that would be taped to the door. It was the support and creativity that mattered. Everyone who participated did a wonderful job and I hope they choose to do it again next year! J

At the end of the month, I received word from the contact that Brandon uses that there may be some extra money that we can use to make the middle school a Project Unified School. J I am so excited to say that we have decided to take on this endeavor and are working up a plan to turn in to see if we can get the equipment we need. J We are hoping to start this in the Fall.