Upstanders Club promotes positive support
Middlebrook School has a new club that aims to help students be empowered to bring positive support to their peers called the Upstanders Club.
“It is about empowerment, but also about change — creating a world we want to spend hours a day in,” said social studies teacher Cynthia Beck-Moore, who advises the club with dean Jory Higgins, special education teacher Palmer Metz and permanent substitute teacher Shirley Geis.
Students in the club will learn “how to respond to things they don’t agree with” and “feel empowered to respond when they want to, but aren't sure how,” said Beck-Moore.
“Most students don't want to stand by and watch other students do things that aren't right — not only in the ways they treat each other, but also in the ways they respect property, time and the learning of others,” she said.
The Upstanders Club is still in the “early development” phase, said Beck-Moore, but as of Feb. 20, its membership count was 65 — 26 seventh graders, 17 eighth graders and 22 sixth graders.
Club members first met by grade level and will begin to meet as a whole to learn how to support their classmates in “standing up” for others. The club’s first combined meeting took place Wednesday, March 7.
Beck-Moore said the club will meet weekly with the following objectives:
- “For students to get to know each other through things like ice-breaking activities;
- To discuss and model how to react in situations when students want to “take a stand” against less desirable outcomes when students interact;
- To model how to respond to classmates of all different relationship levels — acquaintances, friends, close friends, those [they] don't know well and those [they] don’t think [they] want to know.”
Beck-Moore said the Upstanders Club “isn’t about bullying.”
“It is about letting others know that they are part of our Middlebrook family and we value them here. It’s finding something to celebrate in those around us, and letting them know what we see — that maybe someone is a great artist or that you notice they always pick up books that fall,” she said.
“It really starts with hello. We know that students who feel isolated for any reason are at risk for all sorts of negative experiences. The Upstanders have taken on the job to let everyone know that all folks count, and it is the job of the Upstanders to share that.”