What resources do I need in order to start a Be Unique Week Program?
Once you decide to schedule Be Unique Week at your school, you will be given access to the program guide. The guide contains everything you need to get started including links to resources and lessons. The program can be easily implemented with materials you already have in your school. You can choose to add to it by purchasing supplies for library books, simulation materials, school-wide projects, etc. Many schools find that their community members and PTO/PTA are eager to donate and volunteer their time and resources to support the program!
How many people need to be involved?
You should designate a lead program coordinator to oversee the program. This person will be responsible for pushing out the lessons and materials to the teachers at their site and coordinating assemblies and exhibits. If you choose to include disability simulations, you will need to arrange for presenters for each station, as well as parent volunteers to help facilitate the station activities. A detailed explanation of this is included in the guide.
How long does it take to plan and deliver a Be Unique Week Program?
You should begin your planning 3 months prior to your program date. This will give you adequate time to arrange for assemblies and guest speakers as well as gather needed materials. It will also help your teachers to plan around the upcoming special events. The program is designed to supplement existing curriculum so that teachers can maintain the scope and sequence of their curriculum. It is wise to arrange for a whole staff meeting a week or so before Be Unique Week to go over the main components and give your staff time to review and prepare the lessons.
What grades are most appropriate for this program?
Be Unique Week can be implemented in grades K-12.
What is the cost to impliment a program?
The cost varies depending on your preferences. The program guide is free and most lessons and activities can be implemented with supplies you already have at school. You may wish to include guest speakers, which might or might not charge a fee for speaking at your event. You can also choose to build a kit to include materials that you will use each year. This can be created for a one time cost of approximately $500 – $1,000.
Will this require a lot of extra time and work for teachers involved?
The program is designed to be mindful and respectful of teachers’ busy workloads. There is minimal preparation needed for classroom teachers other than reviewing the lesson plans for their grade level lesson and gathering basic materials to implement the lesson. In addition, teachers will need to bring their classes to scheduled assemblies and activities as well as facilitate daily discussions. The designated program coordinator will be the main point of contact and will be required to dedicate the time needed to review the program guide and arrange the activities.
Does this fit into a regular school day, or is it an extracurricular activity?
The Be Unique Week program supplements the learning taking place during a regular week of school. Lessons and activities are woven into the day and spread out over the course of one week.
Do you provide the learning materials for this program or do I have to come up with them on my own?
Everything is included in the program guide. Schools that have participated have customized the program to fit their needs and interests, and have included resources and speakers unique to their school community.
Is there anything that continues on after the week is over?
Be Unique Week helps to lay the foundation for an inclusive school and community. Feedback from staff and parents alike indicates that students continue to use the knowledge and skills learned in the program to further their relationships with all students, including those with disabilities. Furthermore, students with disabilities report that the week of learning was empowering for them and has helped them to feel more confident in who they are. Observations inside of classrooms, the recess yard, and throughout the community show that students are applying the skills.
I don't have any individuals with disabilities at my school. Can I still participate?
Absolutely! Be Unique Week helps to prepare students for an inclusive workforce. It teaches our future generations value in uniqueness and power in inclusivity. They, in turn, will share this with others to improve our schools and communities.