MONTGOMERY, Ala. | Teaching Tolerance, the educational project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, has named Balmoral Elementary, Crete Elementary, Talala Elementary, Monee Elementary and Crete-Monee Middle School as Mix It Up Model Schools for their exemplary efforts to foster respect and understanding.
The five schools are among 76 schools from across the country receiving the honor. However, Crete-Monee School District enjoys the distinction of having the most schools from a single school district receive ‘Model School’ status.
“In today’s polarized world, it’s refreshing to see schools that are doing extraordinary things to encourage students, faculty and staff to cross the social boundaries that so often divide us,” said Maureen Costello, the director of the Teaching Tolerance project. “By recognizing these schools and calling attention to their great work, we hope that other schools will follow their lead.”
The 76 schools recognized were among the 6,000 schools that participated in Teaching Tolerance’s Mix It Up at Lunch Day Program, an effort to break down the barriers between students so there are fewer misunderstandings that can lead to conflicts, bullying and harassment. They will be recognized on the Teaching Tolerance website as Mix It Up Model Schools at http://www.tolerance.org/mix-it-up/model-schools.
Teaching Tolerance’s Mix It Up at Lunch Day program began in 2002. The 2014 Mix It Up at Lunch Day will take place Oct. 28. Many schools plan activities for the entire day, and some schools use the event to kick off a yearlong exploration of social divisions.
Teaching Tolerance is dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation’s children. The program reaches hundreds of thousands of educators and millions of students annually through its Teaching Tolerance magazine, multimedia teaching kits, online curricula, professional development resources and classroom-friendly social justice documentaries. The materials are at no cost to educators.