At the end of third quarter, the Best Buddies club at Minnetonka Middle School West organized the school’s first Inclusion Spirit Week. “The goal of this week was to spread awareness around inclusion and encourage MMW students and staff to practice inclusivity throughout their daily lives,” shared Bailey Hanson and Reilly Woodruff, MMW special education teachers who advise the club.
During the week, each advisory class made pledge posters of acts of inclusion and hung them on their advisory classroom doors. Students were encouraged to dressed up according to themes for each day, such as Pajama Day (“Don’t sleep on inclusion”), mismatched socks for Down Syndrome Awareness Day, Sunglasses Day (“Have your eyes on inclusion”) and Jersey Day (“Inclusion means being a team player”). The week ended with a Tonka Pride Day to celebrate building an inclusive community at MMW.
The Best Buddies club also held an “Inclusion Pledge” drive during lunch periods where students could complete an Inclusion pledge and sign a poster to promote school-wide inclusion. More than 600 students signed the pledge.
Audrey Hauser, an eighth grader at MMW, is the Best Buddies chapter president at the school. At a recent school board meeting, she shared about experiences during the Inclusion Spirit Week. “Change can happen if we commit to all doing our part and are brave enough to speak up for those who can’t,” said Hauser at the Board meeting.
“I am so proud of the work of our Best Buddies team. Authentic inclusion requires challenging our assumptions and changing our thinking about how we connect as students and human beings,” said Freya Schirmacher, Minnetonka Middle School West Principal. “This is some of the most important work we do.”
Great work, MMW!