Mix It Up Model Schools embrace respect and inclusiveness as core values—they “mix it up” all year long. These schools have done an exemplary job of organizing, publicizing and implementing Mix It Up at Lunch Day. By sharing their recipes for success, Model Schools are beacons for other schools striving for inclusiveness.
The 2013-2014 Mix It Up Model Schools have met these criteria:
- They hosted a Mix it Up at Lunch Day in 2013 (it did not have to fall on national Mix Day, Oct. 29).
- They followed up with at least two additional programs or events on campus that sustained the spirit of Mix It Up.
- They included different members of the school community (e.g., cafeteria staff, aides, administration, teachers and students) to organize Mix It Up.
- They publicized Mix Day with a variety of posters, announcements and other media.
- Their students and staff saw Mix It Up at Lunch Day as a success.
2013-2014 Mix It Up at Lunch Day Model Schools
Ann Richards Middle School
ARMS students prepared for Mix It Up at Lunch Day with advisory lessons on tolerance and appreciating differences. They had “Jolly Conversations” at tables color-coded by Jolly Ranchers, and they got to mix it up with teachers too!
Aragon Middle School
Aragon Middle School’s No Place for Hate Leadership Team hosted a Mix event, which featured a version of “Two Truths and a Lie” at each lunch table: Students made three statements about themselves (one of which was false), and the other students tried to guess which statement was untrue. Participants raved about how much fun they had.
Archie R. Cole Middle
East Greenwich, R.I.
Cole students got into the Mix spirit with classes and activities about bullying, a community event on international customs and advisories on communication skills, friendship and school culture. By the time Mix It Up Day arrived, the conversations were so loud that teachers had to use the mic to address the group.
Armstrong Middle School
Armstrong’s anti-bullying group, the Power of 100, hosted the school’s first Mix It Up at Lunch Day. Students at each table got to know each other by working together to play a game, and the feedback was so positive that AMS has decided to make it a monthly event.
One way Avonworth students prepared for the big day was to study the effects of stereotyping in their social studies classes. That lesson was a great segue into the Mix event, where students discovered their commonalities outweigh their differences by answering fun questions like, “Would you eat a bowl of live crickets for $10,000?”
Aycock Elementary School
Aycock students mixed it up on Valentine’s Day. They put the lessons they learned earlier in the month about kindness, love and tolerance to good use as they sat next to new friends designated by a candy-coordinated seating system.
Balmoral Elementary School
Scholars at Balmoral Elementary devoted an entire day to mixing it up. A pep rally kicked off the day, then students in the younger grades engaged in activities with older students. The event ended with a school-wide flash mob dancing to “We Are Family” and forming a peace sign.
Billingsville Leadership Academy
Billingsville’s elementary students learned about Mix It Up during their weekly “Leaders in Training” class, which promotes social emotional skills. A special video shown during the class got everyone revved up. Afterward, students reported that they enjoyed meeting new people and learning what they had in common.
Bolton High School
Primarily organized by a school senior (with help from the school social worker and several student organizations) Bolton High’s Mix It Up at Lunch Day came on the heels of its Names Can Really Hurt Us assembly. They’ve kept the Mix spirit going by hosting the Day of Silence and Stand Against Racism.
Brighton High School
Brighton’s Mix events occurred during Purple Week, which emphasized inclusion, caring, kindness and peace—including a day centered on anti-bullying efforts. The Friends of Rachel Club and CARE Team (made up of teachers) collaborated to make the day so memorable that it will return by popular demand.
Brockbank Jr. High School
Brockbank’s first Mix It Up event was a success! A council composed of all the school’s extracurricular groups organized the event. Afterward, some students reported that mixing it up made them feel safer at lunch, and the organizers have received lots of requests for another Mix Day.
Brown Middle School
The central activity during Brown’s Mix event was the Tootsie Pop activity. After tasting the outside of their pops and finding out what’s inside, each student took a Tootsie Pop template (they looked like greeting cards) and wrote on the outside what people might know about them from a distance. On the inside, they wrote what people wouldn’t know about them unless they took the time to have a conversation.
Cascade Middle School
CMS held its Mix lunch the day after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday to reinforce the lessons students learned the previous week about bullying, acceptance and authentic relationships. Students conscientiously sat with new people, and organizers have noticed kinder interactions ever since.
Cascia Hall Preparatory School
Planned by the Acceptance and Inclusion Club, Cascia Hall’s Mix It Up at Lunch Day was preceded by an entire week of activities, including days dedicated to bullying awareness and reaching out to others.
Coles Elementary School
CES students are mixing it up all year and across grade levels during P.E. and lunch, while learning computer skills and making dream catchers. In an outdoor school-wide activity this year, each student brought a book, dressed as a character from the book and discussed the book with a new friend.
Craver Middle School
Colorado City, Colo.
Student organizers decided to mix students up based on the results of their “True Colors” personality test for an outdoor picnic lunch (with dessert potluck). After learning about each other by discussing their personalities, students participated in fun team-building activities.
Crete Elementary School
Crete Elementary decorated its lunchroom and entrance hall with posters on which students had written acrostic poems about themselves. Students continued to mix it up throughout the day by joining up with other classes or completing Mix activities in their regular classrooms.
Crete-Monee Middle School
University Park, Ill.
CMMS students participate in a Mix activity during advisory period and had Mix It Up lunch. After lunch, they had an afternoon “Twisted Advisory,” where they each had to meet four new people. They used what they learned about their new friends to play “Twisted Advisory Bingo” and found they had more in common than they thought!
De Pere Middle School
De Pere, Wis.
DPMS students focused on a welcoming school environment during their Mix lunch. They were seated at tables labeled with different traits that would contribute to such an environment. After discussing the possibilities, the members of each table crafted a poster featuring a sentence using their character word, and each poster was displayed in the hallway.
The Doane Stuart
Organized by the Student Council, this year’s Mix It Up at Lunch Day was preceded by weeks of preparation. It was so successful that student feedback led the Doane Stuart School to plan multiple Mix Days this year.
Eastwood Knolls International School
El Paso, Texas
Eastwood Knolls students received strips of colored paper to determine where they would sit for lunch. Later, they each wrote one new thing they learned about a tablemate on their strips. All the pieces were linked together as a chain and displayed in the cafeteria by a poster that stated, “We ALL have a common link!”
Eastwood Middle School
El Paso, Texas
For its first Mix It Up at Lunch Day, EMS found a way to involve every student in the preparations: decorating each lunch table with items made by students. Participants enjoyed the event so much they talked about it for a week and are excited about doing it again.
The Edison school community mixed it up in a school-wide, full-day event that began with a theatrical performance focused on global inclusion and appreciation for differences. They later played team-building games and closed the day with a flash mob to Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite.”
The Episcopal Academy Middle School
Newtown Square, Pa.
EA took a whole year to carefully plan what it calls a “full-day social experiment” that involved theatrical productions and discussions to celebrate diversity and to examine stereotypes related to gender roles. They also used the day to explore the injustices of discrimination.
Forest Hills Central Woodlands 5/6
Central Woodlands made it a point to have students of various races and cultures—plus a parent and teacher volunteer—represented at each table at its Mix event. The day was a big hit, and organizers have received student suggestions for more Mix events.
For GMS's first Mix It Up at Lunch Day, student organizers came up with the Halloween-related theme "Don't Be Afraid to Make New Friends." Seated by candy type, students got the opportunity at the end of lunch to win prizes by naming each person at the table and one thing they learned about each of them.
Griswold High School
GHS has made Mix It Up at Lunch Day part of a larger effort to build school community spirit. During lunch, students discussed what was great about their school and what needs improvement. Organizers will use this feedback to plan more events centered on school unity.
Guerneville School has a long tradition of mixing it up and has done it monthly for the past two years. During the week of the national Mix It Up at Lunch Day, fifth- and sixth-graders organize spirit days that encourage inclusion and respect and celebrate diversity.
Hill Elementary School
One student from each classroom helped the school social worker plan Hackberry Hill’s Mix event, which involved asking questions written on tongue depressors. The school also hosts a Mix It Up recess, which includes an outdoor dance party and games.
Des Moines, Iowa
Each Hanawalt student was paired up with a new friend from a different grade level for Mix It Up. Before enjoying lunch and recess together, the pairs met in each other’s classrooms and discussed their favorite books.
Haverford Middle School
Haverford students got ready for Mix Day with advisory lessons and a demonstration video in which students modeled mixing it up. The teachers in particular got the enthusiasm going on the day of the event with spectacularly mismatched outfits.
Hedrick Middle School
A “Super Heroes and Friends” theme helped HMS students mix it up. They dressed up as super heroes or those who might be friends to super heroes and discussed at their tables what it means to be a hero to someone. Student Council members ensured that no one ate alone.
Hiawatha has multiple full-day Mix It Up events each year. Each teacher leads a classroom of students ranging from kindergarten to sixth grade. These mixed-up groups eat lunch, have recess and spend class time together learning about respect, kindness and teamwork.
Led by student members of the Anti-Bully Task Force, Holton High’s Mix It Up at Lunch Day was preceded and followed by events focused on bullying prevention and school community-building, including a giant puzzle the school body completed with the theme, “You are an essential piece of HHS.”
Horizon Community Learning Center
HCLC’s kindergarten through fourth-grade students mix it up weekly, and the fifth- and sixth-graders do it at least three times per quarter. HCLC has found the more often they mix it up, the more students understand value and connection to the school’s values and community-building efforts.
Hurley Elementary School
La Puente, Calif.
Student Council members spread the word about HES’s Mix It Up at Lunch Day. Students in the fourth through sixth grades were mixed up by the color of the wristbands they were given. After lunch, they played a game with their groups at recess.
Iles Middle School and Washington Middle
Iles Middle School and Washington Middle School mixed it up together this year! Glow-in-the-dark necklaces were used to group students. The two schools already co-op music and sports programs, but this joint lunch allowed the students to get to know each other even better.
M. Quinn Elementary School
Two third-graders decided loyal friendship should be the theme of Quinn Elementary’s Mix It Up activities. Students (kindergarten through fifth grade) wore mismatched clothes and signed a Mix It Up mural, pledging to accept others’ differences and to be kind, caring friends.
Kamiak High School
Kamiak High mixes it up monthly and uses various tools for getting students to interact with and meet new people: scavenger hunts, board games, giant Jenga, trivia competitions and more. They kept the Mix spirit going with Care Week, during which students performed “character dares.”
Kemps Landing Magnet School
Virginia Beach, Va.
Student leaders from each grade level, sixth through eighth, organized KLMS’s Mix events, one of which was “Hat O Lini”: The announcer would ask a question, participants at each table would write their answers and place them in a hat, and the students would have to guess who wrote what.
Lakeville Elementary School
Great Neck, N.Y.
Each table in LES’s cafeteria was labeled with the word peace in a different language, and that’s how students were mixed up for lunch. Later, students continued that theme during Respect Week. One day during the week, students wore pajamas to school—“to put bad words to bed.”
Leominster High School
For days leading up to the Mix event, the entire school community was encouraged to get into the mix it up spirit. When the big day came, the students sat with new people without being asked and are now providing the Psychology Club and Gay-Straight Alliance with ideas for various ways to break down barriers at LHS.
Lynn English High School
Instead of mixing it up at lunch, Lynn English students mix it up at two dinners every year. Their October dinner had an “under the sea” theme. Participants enjoyed pasta and student-created art and decorations and then competed in a trivia game with their new friends as teammates.
Manassas Park Middle School
Manassas Park, Va.
MPMS’s Mix lunch was tied to a multicultural night that took place in the evening of the same day. At lunch, students asked each other questions about their families’ favorite foods, honored traditions and spoken languages. That night, students exhibited food, clothing and dances they felt were important to their cultures.
Mary E. Roberts Elementary School
Roberts Elementary students mixed it up with a birthday party for their mascot, Robbie the Heart. Robbie received birthday wishes in a number of languages, and students discussed how they might become Robbie Heart Heroes: those who Help and Empower others, are Always accepting of others’ differences, and who Respect and Treat others the way they want to be treated.
Maywood Avenue School
Mix It Up at Lunch Day has become a tradition at Maywood, where it caps off the Month of Respect and Safety each October. Last year, students really enjoyed mixing it up with their teachers in addition to their fellow students.
Monee Elementary School
MES held a seven-day, school-wide series of events leading up to Mix It Up at Lunch Day. At the end of the official Mix It Up Day, the entire school, each grade with its own balloon color, came together to release their balloons—blending together their differences!
Ever since Namaste’s first Mix It Up at Lunch Day last October, they’ve mixed it up every Tuesday—including mixing up grade levels. Some classes practice saying hello to new people before, and the older students are great role models for younger ones.
Nashoba Brooks School
Students at Nashoba Brooks mix it up weekly during the spring and fall, crafting discussion questions on a range of identity topics and facilitating table conversation themselves. Faculty and staff also join the tables and get into the mix!
With a population of students ranging from three to 14 years old, North Branch’s Mix It Up at Lunch Day made for some fun groupings. The older students took the lead in learning everyone’s names at their tables, and the younger students were excited to be known by the “big kids.”
North Star Elementary School
North Star’s third-, fourth- and fifth-graders mixed it up with the theme “My Hero Is…” The students and teachers chose personal heroes and had their photos taken with the names of their heroes. Later in the year, students can nominate community heroes, and on a special day, one honoree comes to speak to the students.
Number Five School
Before Mix It Up at Lunch Day, student organizers worked carefully with the school social worker to prepare presentations for each class about the goals of Mix It Up and its connection to the school’s values. The students enjoyed the Mix event and used what they learned from the presentations to make new friends.
Onesimo Hernandez Elementary School
Onesimo Hernandez mixes it up every six weeks, with varying methods for seating students. One method is “Personality Probability.” Students use a spinner labeled with six traits to determine where they’ll sit. At the tables, students discuss their own personalities and learn about those of their new friends.
The Phillips Academy
During a lunchtime game of musical chairs, students at the Phillips Academy introduced themselves to neighboring students when the music stopped. Afterwards, they introduced their new friends to the rest of the group. Some students got to know each other by playing board games together.
Princeton Charter School
Princeton Charter students were seated according to the musical genres they most enjoy. An eighth-grade student deejayed, and students at each table worked together to match Halloween costumes with the teachers who wore them. The winning table received a bucketful of candy.
Reno Valley Middle School
RVMS students mix it up each month. A particularly outstanding event called for art students to illustrate the division created by hate with a paper wall of intolerance, covered in hurtful words. Randomly selected students would run through the wall, destroying intolerance as the rest of the students cheered.
Ridgefield Park Jr./Sr. High School
Ridgefield Park, N.J.
Change Makers, a group of students who brainstorm ways to effect change on and off campus, led Ridgefield Park’s Mix activities. Students completed a questionnaire on ways to make positive change the week prior to Mix. On Mix Day, they sought out other students with similar thoughts and discussed those ideas in depth.
Robert M. Beren Academy
Students at RMBA learned more about each other by playing Human Bingo. The game’s questions about students’ families and favorite activities led to rich discussions and new friendships. Each team that reached a bingo won a prize.
Rondout Valley Intermediate/Junior High
This was Rondout Valley’s first year participating in Mix It Up at Lunch Day, and they’ve already seen its benefits. Mix It Up was the first time the entire school building came together as a community, and it was so successful that they’ve already held a second event.
For its fifth Mix It Up at Lunch Day, Sharon High made it a party! Complete with music from the school’s radio station and balloons at each table, students were seated by birth month and enjoyed sweet treats with their meals.
SOAR Charter Academy
San Bernardino, Calif.
SOAR’s Mix It Up at Lunch Day was preceded by a week dedicated to fostering respect and a more unified school community. They continued that theme with a Chain of Kindness, which allowed students to share acts of kindness they’ve performed and witnessed.
Sol Feinstone Elementary
Leading up to SFE’s Mix event, a student group wrote and performed a rap to promote the big day and performed it again during the event. Mixed up at their lunch tables, all the students individually colored puzzle pieces which they then worked together to assemble. The finished puzzles were displayed in the hallway for everyone to see.
South Valley Elementary
Held during New Jersey’s Week of Respect, South Valley’s Mix It Up event was a huge success. The best part of the day was the discussion surrounding the prompt, “Tell about a time that you did something really embarrassing.” Students realized that they all make mistakes and are still worthy of respect.
St. John Bosco Catholic School
St. John Bosco mixed up all students, preschool through eighth grade, during a lunch themed “Be the Change.” Organizers used this theme to encourage students to think about how they can change the world for the better.
St. Luke School
All grades, kindergarten through eighth, were mixed up for lunch and played a game in which students at each table tried to learn everyone else’s name and an interesting fact about them. The older students helped the younger ones if they needed it, and the little ones enjoyed hanging with the older kids.
Talala Elementary School
Park Forest, Ill.
With a weeklong theme about health called “A Healthy Me Is What I’ll Be,” Talala’s Mix It Up activities were focused on healthy individuals, healthy relationships and healthy choices. Students got to eat with children from different grade levels and members of the local fire and police departments.
Thurgood Marshall Elementary School
MES students had a Mix It Up at Lunch Day in the fall during its “Teaching Tolerance Week” activities and another in the spring during “College Week.” At the spring lunch, students sat by new people and found out about their college and career goals.
Village Elementary are mixing it up weekly this year with “Monday Mixers.” The fifth-graders organize each event, and the kindergarteners’ Reading Buddies—older students—help the younger ones by taking them to their lunch groups.
El Segundo, Calif.
Vistamar’s Halloween-themed Mix It Up at Lunch Day was entirely organized by students. Seven clubs collaborated to host an event that raised awareness about various abilities, identities and biases and featured a photo booth and costume contest.
The Tweens Leadership Group at Waitsfield guided the primary activity for lunch: On post-its, all students wrote out improvements they’d like to see at WES and how they themselves felt they could contribute to a safer and more welcoming school environment.
Before heading to lunch, Weslaco students learned about building tolerance in their Family Advocacy classes. Students who were previously strangers to each other had a great time working together to play games, and many students randomly went up to others to introduce themselves.
The highlight of Westover’s Mix It Up at Lunch Day was the Sticky Note Wars. Each class, including faculty, was assigned a sticky note color. The classes covered a set of central doors with compliments about school members thinking the class who posted the most notes would win. At the end of the “war” a couple of days later, all classes were declared winners.
Regional Jr./Sr. High School
Township of Washington, N.J.
The National Junior Honor Society hosted Westwood’s Mix It Up event. Students prepared for the day by practicing “breaking the ice” statements. Each student was given colorful stickers to share with their new friends at lunch, and the NJHS eighth-graders blogged about their Mix experiences.
Wilkins Junior High School
Starting with the first day of school, Wilkins students mix it up all year long with. Students produce plays, design posters, and participate in a huge lunchtime event and other programs focused on bullying prevention and oneness within the school community.
All three grades mixed it up at WMS and shared friendship necklaces during lunch. Each necklace had one color of tassel. Students traded tassels whenever they conversed with a new person and found something in common. By the end, everyone had rainbow-colored necklaces.
East Meadow, N.Y.
WMS sixth- and seventh-graders were randomly seated by musical genres at lunch, where they enjoyed listening to all kinds of music and joined in group activities. The eighth-graders mixed it up all day with a full-body, rock-paper-scissors tournament, and the entire eighth grade worked together to get a marble from one end of the hallway to the other—with PVC pipe!