During the fourth week of April, Paly will host its annual Not In Our School (NIOS) Week to inspire unity and encourage discussion about diversity.
Overall, students have had mostly positive experiences in previous years with the week full of activities. Junior Rudra Aiyar was pleased with the events held last year.
“The variety of performances and activities on the Quad really strengthened the school’s community throughout the week,” Aiyar said. “I thought that Not In Our Schools Week achieved what it wanted to, which was unity.”
Associated Student Body’s (ASB) Cultural Commissioner junior Ellen Shuan has led the planning of this year’s NIOS week and has made an effort to work in union with Henry M. Gunn High School to improve Paly’s activities.
“After hearing about Gunn’s past NIOS, I contacted Gunn’s Diversity Commissioner Danny Golovinsky and asked him to help,” Shuan said. “Later, a couple of ASB members and I met up with him at Gunn and we talked over possible themes, logistics, budgeting and the way we could approach and organize this event.”
Even though she enjoyed NIOS week last year, Aiyar had hoped for more activities during lunch and brunch.
“I hope that there are more events going on throughout the week [this year] that the students can engage in,” Aiyar said. “Last year, I think most of the events started to die out as the week progressed.”
ASB has implemented changes to this week-long event, which will hopefully address the critiques from other students such as Aiyar.
“This is the first time that [Paly’s] Not In Our School Week is working with Gunn’s [and] has a NIOS decision-making body,” Shuan said.
With this new decision-making body, ASB will receive more input from students regarding the planned activities and how they will run the week instead of having ASB make all the decisions themselves. This is to encourage greater participation in organizing NIOS Week. The decision-making body will include presidents of clubs that choose to contribute, select teachers, a few ASB officers, Student Activities Director Matt Hall and a few Camp Everytown alumni.
Eric Bloom, the school’s climate teacher on special assignment (TOSA), is one of the teachers involved in organizing the annual NIOS Week.
“I’m one of the adults helping the students implement what is that they want to do,” Bloom said. “We’re really trying to keep it being very student driven and we’re here as a support to help them achieve their goals.”
With these new changes, Shuan expects this year’s NIOS Week to be more exciting and appealing to more students.
“Not In Our School Week this year is going to be entirely based off of activities on the Quad at lunch and brunch,” Shuan said. “We’re going to focus on a different theme each day. Along with the activities that’ll go along with our theme, we’re going to have a different color to represent our theme.”
Though the schedule for Not In Our School Week is still undergoing changes, the themes for each day are predicted to include gender equality, anti-bullying, disability, stereotypes and racism.