Sunny Days Ahead

Editorial Written by: Anna Carpenter

No matter your age, culture, or generation, we have all watched the iconic and nostalgic Sesame Street television show. Sesame Street, the brainchild of Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrissett, debut in 1969. The savvy creators based their episodes on staunchly held political views. Cooney and Morrissett taught children, specifically low-income family children, the reality of life. Through the actions of the beloved Muppets, they demonstrated to children how single parents live, how to cope with a loved one's death, and how all races are equal. Sesame Street was the turn-around for the television world due to diverse concepts not previously seen. The dynamic duo helped unveil the concepts of diversity, acceptance, and empathy to a generation who are now in their '50s, as well as to subsequent generations. Now Sesame Street is filming, writing, and broadcasting its 51st season.

It is important to teach students, and especially young children, practical ways to establish habits and morals so that once they are older, they can act with respect. We see too many disrespectful adults that childishly handle problems. We do not want the next generation to repeat the same mistakes. We do realize that everyone believes differently, but we think it prudent that hurtful opinions lie dormant so as not to damage others. The future generations should learn ways to be in control of their emotions, otherwise, socially, we may fall apart. We want to teach children to love everyone regardless of their race, gender, sexuality, religion, or culture. Our personalities are unique as snowflakes, and while we should realize our value, we should do so with the awareness that we are all equal. This article is inspired by a project our service-learning class is currently working on; which is to teach others how to be more diverse and inclusive; we have been working on this project for the first semester of this school year. Drop me a line and let me know how you feel about this subject.


Passing the Torch

Written by: Aria Zavaletta

The strength of any community is based on its diversity. Undeniably, a diverse population is both fortifying and unifying. How dull and meaningless would our lives be if everyone was the same? This year, the eighth-grade class is striving to embolden the elementary classes' understanding and acceptance of our community's diversity. The oldest students of our school firmly believe that expanding the general knowledge of our diversity, a key factor in our community, will help younger students in their walk through this world together.

Starting with the CM1, a few selected eighth-graders will carry out a project containing a series of group activities promoting AIS's diverse culture. These activities, organized by Aurélie Giansanti, Anna Carpenter, and Aria Zavaletta, will cover the main categories of diversity that students can apply to their own lives. Through demonstrations and activities, CM1 students will visit the subjects of race, culture, nationality, religion, and physical appearance. Accordingly, they will be able to learn about their values, thus leading our community to a better practice of unity as a whole.

Giansanti and Carpenter prepared more academically-based, written group activities that students completed in the classroom; whereas Zavaletta has developed an activity plan centered around experiential learning. This includes a Greek backyard game similar to our Statues in The Park. In this way, students will be able to relate to a foreign culture; who knows, it might even become the newest addition to their recreational activities!

Uniting AIS One Lesson At A Time

Written by: Isabella Cruz and Aria Zavaletta

Inclusion is the foundation of our community. It's one of the pillars that hold up Austin International School. It’s more than an action, it’s a core value that our school heavily encourages and teaches. This past month the eighth graders along with our teacher, Ms. Prema, have worked on lessons to educate the young minds of the school about the core values that AIS upholds. Their goal was to increase the children's awareness of this topic and connect it to their daily lives so that they can approach their day with a healthy mindset.

Inclusion has been the focus of Schvartz and Cruz' efforts. They concluded while working on their lesson plans that inclusion involves honoring a variety of attributes and uniting them in order to live in peace, but also realized that it's a term that's thrown about in many contexts without any explanation. With this in mind, Cruz and Schvartz set out to learn more about what it meant to those that lead at AIS. They thought it was vital to hear from Mr. Mark, the head of school, about how he defines inclusion, and to seek his views on how inclusion and unity impacts our school community.

As he puts it, “Inclusion is a big word,” and to him it means making an effort to include everyone in the discussion. Inclusion benefits AIS tremendously. “It’s essential to understand the world we live in,” Mr. Mark stated when asked why it is a core value that guides us. He also stated, “We want to see more than one perspective.”

Inclusion delivers a whole range of experiences to the table. He explains that through our different experiences, each individual is able to understand this world uniquely, and if it weren’t for inclusive practices, none of those experiences would be shared.

Another point he made was that it’s embracing inclusive practices at our school is necessary because it promotes the curiosity we need to learn about the enriched diversity we are exposed to.

After gaining a thorough grasp of the subject, Schvartz and Cruz were able to present to the CM1 class. The lesson consisted of a read-aloud of two Mo Williams books, The Duckling Gets A Cookie!and I Love My New Toy! These books are based on the principle of inclusion. CM1 class enjoyed the experience and had gained new knowledge on the subject. The initiative was a success, and the eighth grade students plan to continue these lessons at AIS each year.

Let's Be More ACCEPTING!

First group of CM1 students during the read-aloud.

Second group of CM1 students participating in the read-aloud.

CM1 students working on the comprehension activity.

CM1 students engaged during the presentation.

Photos By: Isabella Cruz


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The Importance of Inclusive Workspaces

Written by: Matthew Jiampietro

Inclusion is the foundation of our community. It's one of pillars that hold up Austin International School. It’s more than an action, it’s a core value that our school heavily encourages and teaches. This past month the eighth graders along with our teacher, Ms. Prema, have worked on lessons in order to educate the young minds of the school about the core values that AIS upholds. Their goal was to increase the children's' awareness of this topic and connect it to their daily lives so that they can approach their day with a healthy mindset.

Inclusion has been the focus of Lorraine and Isabella's Many businesses are setting the example and are becoming more inclusive day by day. "Equally important is inclusion — our respect for one another fosters an environment where everyone's voice is heard." Those words are one of the first things one will see when logging on to the JLL website. JLL, a prominent real estate company, took drastic measures to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace. This giant company includes people from all different walks of life. For example, they have employees from various races and ethnicities and accommodate many LGBTQ members. JLL fosters a community where everyone's voice matters by including diverse people on its staff.

In service learning class, we learned about the importance of being inclusive and its substantial role in creating a dynamic community. We learned what inclusivity means and why it can strongly affect a society. For example, by only allowing those closest friends to participate in an activity, a person may be missing various views and opinions, but also access to valuable resources. Being inclusive is easy-it does not take much to allow someone that is not familiar to join a group-and it can help our community grow immeasurably.

Another example would be excluding someone from playing soccer and only allowing particular people to play. Not only is there a risk of hurting another person's feelings, but it's possible that they may be good at the sport and kept from reaching their potential.

Businesses are taking the idea of inclusivity extremely serious lately and have been doing a lot to create a more diverse communities. For example, Microsoft employees have been taking courses on unconscious bias training to ensure everyone keeps a broad and open mind when interviewing new employees. Microsoft believes that everyone should have a chance at succeeding no matter their sexual orientation, physical characteristics, or culture. When they interview people, they treat everyone the same; they do not show bias or favoritism, which is why Microsoft's staff is so vastly diverse.

As we near the holidays, spending time with friends, classmates, co-workers, and family is more critical than ever. Especially with Covid raging over the whole world, it is getting harder to include everyone when hanging out or while working. Regardless of everything that is trying to barricade them, businesses are yet still taking a giant leap in the fight for diversity and inclusion. It all starts with the little things like letting people play with you or allowing people into your group. Slowly, but steadily, big corporations are breaking new ground and setting themselves up for success with inclusive and diverse workplaces.


Empathy, More Alive than Ever

Written by: Quinn Johnson

The holidays are right around the corner which means empathy will be in high fashion, just as is mistletoe. This is when people are more generous with their money, time and affection. If empathy never existed, we would live and work and go about our days, but we would all remain clueless about our feelings and inner selves. Psychology Today states “Empathy. It’s the bedrock of intimacy and close connection; in its absence, relationships remain emotionally shallow, defined largely by mutual interest and shared activities.”

Some people also get mixed up with sympathy and empathy. No, they are not synonyms, but very similar. Sympathy means to feel for someone and empathy involves feeling with them. Empathy helps us connect with our loved ones and friends. There are endless possibilities when you have empathy. Let's spread some cheer and empathy this season.


Recommended Movies with the Theme of Inclusion by: Lorraine Schvartz

Luca on Disney+

Leap! (Ballerina in other countries) on Netflix

Wonder on Hulu

Books with the Theme of Inclusion: by Lorraine Schvartz

The Boy at the Back of the Class

By: Onjali Q. Raúf


By: Svetlana Chmakova

And Tango That Makes Three

By: Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson

Recommended by Anna Carpenter

Cozy up with a Cup of Cocoa

Speaking of diversity, try spicing up your holidays with Peru's twist on hot cocoa! Known as Peruvian spiced hot chocolate, or ¨Chocolatada,¨ this foreign recipe is unique for being the cup of hot chocolate with a spicy kick. Nothing says the holidays like a warm, decadent hot cocoa. Usually served with a sweet such as panetón, this is the perfect way to diversify some of your Christmas traditions!