Our Process

OBS students work to see past differences and understand what makes each person unique. As they build connections, students work towards justice and equity for all. Participating in school exchanges, they address our differences and our shared humanity through creative, hands-on community engagement and collaborative projects.

OBS exchanges between schools in separate states typically involve a long weekend visit to the host community where students live with families, attend school, and connect with the community. For OBS exchanges within a state, students typically visit each other’s schools and communities for day-long or overnight exchanges, three to four times during the year.

OBS assists in planning the exchanges, locating partner schools, and providing workshops and materials before, during and after the exchanges. OBS is also happy to provide training and consultation to educators who wish to conduct their own exchanges.

It’s hard to believe that this coming spring will mark 20 years since I graduated from Orono High School. When I reflect on the past two decades of my life and career, I can say with certainty that my experience with Operation Breaking Stereotypes profoundly influenced the paths I’ve taken. Being a part of the very first group of student exchanges between our school and a high school in the Bronx not only opened my eyes to how different (but also similar!) the lives of students in different places could be, but, more importantly, gave me a structured way to talk about race with my peers for the first time ever. The guided conversations we had about difference, privilege, assumptions, stereotypes, power, identity, and race unlocked a way of thinking and seeing the world that has stayed with me ever since.

— Original OBS student