National Civil Rights Group Recognizes Windsor Elementary School for Tolerance Efforts

Windsor Designated ‘Mix It Up’ Model School by the Southern Poverty Law Center

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance program has named Windsor Elementary as a Mix It Up Model School for its exemplary efforts to foster respect and understanding among students and throughout campus during the 2011-12 school year.

Windsor is one of 77 schools from across the country receiving the honor. A list of the model schools can be found here.

“We have organized a Mix It Up at Lunch Day for seven years. It provides a great opportunity for students to meet new friends,” said Windsor Principal Barry Jones. “Mix It Up Day also fosters school spirit and unity.”

The 2012 National Mix It Up at Lunch Day will be held on Oct. 30. For more than a decade, Mix It Up Day has provided students across the country with an opportunity to move out of their comfort zones and connect with someone new over lunch. It is a simple act with profound implications as studies have shown that interactions across group lines can help reduce prejudice. Many schools plan activities for the entire day, and some use the event to kick off a yearlong exploration of social divisions.

Last year, 5,500 schools took part in the event.

“We are delighted to recognize each of 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.”

The Mix It Up Model Schools met five criteria, which were: 

  • hosting a Mix it Up at Lunch Day in 2011;
  • including different members of the school’s community – cafeteria staff, aides, administrators, teachers or students – in organizing the event;
  • following up with at least two additional Mix It Up-related programs or events on campus;
  • publicizing Mix It Up at Lunch Day or celebrated inclusiveness with posters, announcements and other media; and
  • making sure their event was seen by students and school officials as a success.

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.  For more information, visit http://www.