Middle School Math Teacher Sevim Akhondzadeh teaches first graders (l-r) Daniel Carlos, Emilia Osborn and Alain Marin.

Garrison School students and faculty participated in “Mix It Up,” a week-long national campaign to improve inter-group relations, reduce prejudice and build inclusive learning communities. Activities for the week included wearing pajamas instead of school clothes, eating breakfast for lunch and the highlights of the week; “Mix It Up At Lunch” day and “Mix Up Your Teachers” day. “Students thrive socially and academically in learning environments that are inclusive,” said Principal Stephanie Impellittiere. “Mix It Up encourages them to reach outside the comfort zone of their usual social circles and make connections with someone new.”
       The national “Mix It Up at Lunch Day” is a call to action, helping students to identify, question and cross social boundaries that separate them from other students. According to Teaching Tolerance, the organization that launched the Mix It Up project in 2002, students identify the cafeteria as the place where divisions are most clearly drawn. On Wednesday, Nov. 10, students entering the school cafeteria for lunch were randomly seated at new table to encourage them to make new friends.
          On Friday, Nov. 12, students and teachers enjoyed “Mix Up Your Teachers” day, when Garrison teachers prepared for and taught another teacher’s classes for the day.  “Teachers also learn from teaching a new subject and grade for the day,” said Garrison Guidance Counselor, Michael Williams.  “They really gain an appreciation and respect for what their colleagues are accomplishing in the classroom.”

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