At our high school, we have many student organizations that represent many cultures and identities. The school will invite each organization to host a "Welcome Wednesday," (which takes place once a month), where the student organization and its representatives can welcome students to their day.
In addition, student organizations would "advertise" their event through announcements, inviting students to say hello and notifying students that they will be present on that Welcome Wednesday. Student organizations can hand out raffle tickets, or other prizes, as students come through the door for their day. The organization is encouraged to be creative with how they want to sponsor their own "Welcome Wednesday." Administration and staff are encouraged to participate with the groups during the event, to show solidarity and unity as a community. :)
FIRST WELCOME WEDNESDAY (LATE START WEDNESDAY, FEB. 22)
Our first WW was held on Feb. 22 and was hosted by The Black Student Union. I met the BSU, at their weekly meeting, and pitched the idea of the event. During that time I offered the idea of a raffle in connection to the event and handed out a proposal with some sample announcements on how they might like to "advertise" their WW. They were excited to tie the event into their announcements they had prepared for Black History Month.
In addition, I handed out a sheet so they could sign up for different "stations" to stand and welcome at the school. The facilitator of the club suggested three students per station. We are a very large school, so I placed students at three entrances. However, for the next WW, we will probably increase that to about five to six entrances. Each "station" had a faculty member there, with the student group, to support them during their WW and assist with any needs they might have.
BSU representatives were at their stations for approximately 30 minutes, saying hello to students as they entered the school, and handing out raffle tickets. We have about 3200 students at our school, so there are a lot of students streaming in during the morning.
About five minutes before the start of class, students collected all the tickets they had garnered and we headed over to our main meeting space. At this time, we put all the tickets in a bucket and the BSU drew the winning tix. Two BSU students were selected to read the winning tickets over announcements. The tickets were read over announcements, and the winners were told to pick up their prizes, during lunch, from the BSU.
THINGS I LEARNED
The groups need more visibility. Working on T-shirts for all our groups, and will continue to refine how the WW is "advertised" leading up to it.
We needed to cover more entrances. This may mean involving more than one group at a time in the long run.
The student groups need more time to brainstorm and create the ideas and activities around their WW. (I knew this was the case, but the BSU was game for being the first to try the WW and was also very interested in the idea of connecting it to Black History Month). Since the BSU was given such short notice, I have pitched the idea of them hosting another WW for the final Wednesday of the school year, so they can get more creative with their WW.
With more planning and time, my hope is to spend some time talking with the organization or club about what "welcoming" means to them, and how they want to create a welcoming atmosphere for their fellow students.
NEXT WW - March 22
We've slated our GSA to host the next WW. I plan to meet with them within the week to pitch the idea and see if there is interest in hosting. They will have three weeks to prepare for their WW.
I will come prepared with prompts about what they want their WW to look like and sound like. I have some ideas that I can put into the "basket" of options (music can be played, or quotes can be handed out)... I will give them the deadlines and logistics needed (when announcements need to be completed etc).
I will hand out the sign up sheet with the "stations" that they can volunteer for. There will be more stations then last time, and there will be administration and staff present at each station. I have been given approval to assign the principal as well as vice principals to participate with the groups at each station.
I hope to have t-shirts made for this group for the event. A fellow teacher has volunteered to donate the t-shirts and silk screening service with a design of their choice. I will offer this to the group as well.