Are you an UPstander or a BYstander? This is a question each learner and classroom leader will hear in the coming weeks. On our educational journey this year, our social focus will include the powerful story Stand Up! Written by Dr. Lisa Roth and Dr. Karen Siris, the children in the story learn to recognize what is right and fair in the world while standing up to unkindness when they see and experience it firsthand.
Having welcoming and caring friends is important in life. Stand Up! encourages young people to empower themselves as they take responsibility for teaching their classmates about the importance of inclusive and kind behaviors…no matter what. The creative illustrations provide a brilliant visual reminder for all of us to walk in each other’s shoes and to STAND UP together to create a positive change. The heart of this story lies with the children (not in the interventions of adults) who choose to take a positive stance to stop exclusion and unkindness in their school.
We can talk all day about bully prevention programs, ideas, and examples. UPstanders learn to recognize unkindness and stop it themselves, thus taking all the power away from the person who is choosing to be unkind. In fact, practicing the traits of an UPstander is common theme in our R Time series each week as we actively engage in character building.
I will initiate the conversation while personally sharing this insightful story in the first week of school as I hit the hallways of LME on a classroom book tour. Each staff member has a copy of the book to use and refer to often throughout the year. I challenge you, our learning community, to find exceptional ways to demonstrate your UPstanding behaviors to our young learners and become a part of the caring majority of UPstanders in MISD! As a dear friend and mentor reminded me: “Be a lamp, a lifeboat, a ladder; help someone’s soul to heal…walk in your shoes and in those of others like a shepherd who leads with the greatest of care.” Stand Up, LME; welcome back!