About Know Your Classmates
The idea to create a curriculum entitled Know Your Classmates grew from the national ING-led Know Your Neighbor: Multifaith Encounters project, which was launched at the White House late last year. Know Your Classmates is an exciting back-to-school initiative brought to you by Beyond Differences -- and free of charge -- for any school across the country to use this school year.
Know Your Classmates is designed to support you and your students, primarily middle schoolers, as they explore issues of self-identity, stereotypes and embracing differences among one another.
With conviction and passion, Beyond Differences believes fears are being recklessly stirred up in the United States among children, in particular, children of multi-faith and multi-ethnic backgrounds.
Our students deserve to acquire the tools they need to combat this fear. They deserve to live in a country that respects their identity, and students should not have to be terrified that they are different or feel as though they somehow do not belong to the United States.
We know you are the teacher who gets it: four lesson plans, one national awareness day, and a million ways for children to joyfully open up and get to know one another.
Bring Know Your Classmates to your school this year. We're so thrilled that over 600 schools participated in Know Your Classmates Day on October 21, 2016! But the campaign to embrace differences is more than a one-day event. We encourage you to plan and host your own Know Your Classmates activity day. Sign up here to receive your free downloadable version of the Know Your Classmates Activity Kit that can be used any time throughout the school year.
About Beyond Differences
Beyond Differences was founded by the parents of Lili Smith who was born with a cranial facial syndrome and was socially isolated during her middle school years. After Lili died at the age of 15 due to medical complications from her syndrome, a group of teens from the local community banded together to bring change to their local schools. They had not realized that they had been leaving Lili out from all the fun social get-togethers. But upon hearing about Lili's feelings of being left out, they were determined to never let anyone feel that way again!
Beyond Difference’s core principle is to inspire and empower students to end social isolation in middle school through online and campus programs. We work directly with students – with the support of their teachers and administrators – because they are the real activists who can ensure acceptance and inclusion of one another. We are passionately focused on supporting youth in this process of making their middle schools more socially inclusive and less socially isolating.
We are thrilled that you are joining Beyond Differences in this mission. Thank you!