Other STUDENT ASSEMBLY Topics
Overview of Student Assembly ProgramsAim Higher Diversity Assemblies Gr. 6-12
Bullying Prevention Assemblies PreK-8 • Gender & Sexual Orientation Diversity
Cyber Bullying Gr. 4-12

AIM HIGHER STUDENT ASSEMBLY
for Grades 6-12

"Aim Higher" Basic

The overarching message of "Aim Higher" is respect for diversity.  This colorful presentation covers all forms of diversity, including race/ethnic/cultural, religious, appearance and body type, gender identity, sexual orientation, social class, and disability.  Students learn the importance of respect, how their words and actions affect others, and how they can help make their school environment one in which all students feel safe and comfortable.

"Aim Higher" is designed for middle, junior, and senior high school students, and is presented in age-appropriate ways for each grade level. Emphasis can be placed on specific forms of diversity, depending on the needs of a particular school or district. This assembly is designed to support comprehensive school-wide efforts to address bias-based bullying through preventive education, and to support school or district efforts to create a climate in which all students have equal and equitable, non-discriminatory access to education in a safe environment. Click here to download a .pdf flier for "Aim Higher."

"Aim Higher: Focus on <Pick your topic>"

Student assemblies can focus on specific forms of diversity, depending on the needs of an individual school or district.

The most prevalent form of bullying in New Jersey schools, as well as nationally, is bullying based on appearance, including weight, physical ability, clothing and style, and body size or type. Bullying based on appearance is closely related to "relational bullying" and social exclusion, because students are often bullied or excluded because of their appearance, style, or clique membership. Bullying based on appearance is also closely related to both racial/ethnic and social class bullying, because students with different cultural backgrounds, different racial/ethnic identities, or of different financial means, differ in their ability or desire to conform to prevailing attitudes regarding fashion and physical appearance.

Many schools are also specifically concerned about bullying based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (anti-LGBT bullying). Recent legal developments, such as the addition of "gender identity and gender expression " to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, a watershed NJ Supreme Court decision, and the 2011 strengthening of New Jersey's "Anti-Bullying Law" (now known as the "Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights"), have made schools more clearly responsible for student-to-student bias-based bullying, explicitly including bias based on sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Sexual orientation and gender identity/expression can be difficult issues for schools to address because these are culturally sensitive topics, because many adults feel ill-equipped to discuss these issues, and because faculty and staff need age-appropriate strategies to effectively address these issues. However, the safety of students in school requires that these issues be addressed. Student assemblies can focus specifically on sexual orientation and gender identity issues, or these issues can be approached in the context of raising awareness and increasing respect for diversity in general.

Pair a Student Assembly with Professional Development

Student assemblies alone can help raise awareness among students, but providing staff with professional development training designed to work with the student assembly will help ensure that the impact of the assembly is carried into the classroom and all other areas of school life. Like the student assemblies, professional development can focus on bullying or diversity awareness in general, or on specific aspects of bullying (e.g., cyber bullying) or specific aspects of diversity (e.g., LGBT). The greatest benefit occurs when professional development occurs prior to the student assembly. See the professional development page for further information.