The Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance program has named the Tucker Adult Career Transition Program as a Mix It Up Model School for its exemplary efforts to nurture respect and understanding among students.
Tucker Transition is a post-high-school program for students ages 18 to 22 who have special needs. The school is one of 77 nationwide receiving the honor.
"We are delighted to recognize these schools," said Teaching Tolerance Director Maureen Costello. "Mix It Up Model Schools have found innovative ways to create a school environment where respect and inclusiveness are core values. They serve as examples for other schools hoping to instill these values in their students, faculty and staff."
Mix It Up Day provides students nationwide an opportunity to move out of their comfort zones and connect with someone new over lunch. Studies have shown that interactions across group lines can help reduce prejudice. Last year, 5,500 schools took part in the event.
"It is really exciting to receive an award from the Southern Poverty Law Center. They work diligently to eradicate discrimination of all kinds. I am proud to be a part of their efforts,” said Julie Denmion, a teacher with the Tucker program.
At Tucker’s Mix It Up Day, student table leaders facilitated dialogue. The focus of the lunch was tolerance, peace and acceptance of others.
“It was a fantastic day,” Denmion said. “More than 100 students, staff and community liaisons attended. Before and after the event, we conducted lessons focusing on conflict resolution, advocacy and tolerance.”
Mix It Up Model Schools meet several criteria, including the hosting of a Mix it Up at Lunch Day. They include 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.
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.
Learn more at www.splcenter.org.