An NASSP Student Leadership Initiative

Choose to Include: Project Ideas for an Inclusive School Culture

To promote an inclusive school culture, focus on the uniqueness of individuals, celebrate their differences, and create relationships with supportive organizations that align with NHS and student council goals.

Share How You #EngageInChange

Choose to Include: Project Ideas for an Inclusive School Culture

By Lauren Kimzey

In the 2018–19 school year, inclusion has become a main focus for many Honor Society chapters and student councils. In my community, we are heavily involved in programs such as the Special Olympics, which is a great source of service and leadership opportunities promoting inclusion and equity. Volunteers of all ages work tirelessly to put on an amazing competition at our local level. These seasonal, region-wide events are perfect for councils and chapters to coordinate volunteers, teammates, and fundraising. Through the Special Olympics, inclusion project opportunities are endless!

I was fortunate to attend the 2018 National Student Council Conference, where participants took a pledge to “Choose to Include.” We made a promise to help make inclusion in our schools a priority. By making a short video, more than 800 students made the choice to create more welcoming schools, leading to equitable change in their own communities. Student councils and National Honor Society (NHS) chapters at any school can lead this project—or introduce something similar—and increase the amount of student participants across the nation.

Recently, a new club began at my school called Spurs. Any and all of our students are invited to join, and Spurs members lead inclusion projects in our school and community. At a recent pep rally, our Spurs led the student body in making another oath: a promise to end the use of the “R word.” Each of us signed a paper, and the paper was made into a chain and hung across the school to hold everyone accountable to their promise.

These projects, along with organizations such as the Special Olympics, help chapters reinforce the equity strand of #EngageInChange. Creating change and promoting inclusivity through partnerships like these will create a lasting, positive effect. If your chapter focuses on the uniqueness of individuals, celebrates their differences, and creates relationships with other organizations that align with NHS and student council goals, you will have successful student leadership in your schools that will have an outstanding global impact.

What projects will you lead that support inclusivity?

Lauren Kimzey is a senior at Hamilton High School, in Hamilton, MT and a member of the NASSP Student Leadership Advisory Committee.