BEST PRACTICES AWARDS

Coordinators: Dr. Jacqueline Abbott and Dr. Margaret Anzul

Awards were given to the following:

David Angwenyi and Lindsey Makofka of Hopewell Central HS in Pennington, NJ.

Project title: Global Bridge for Better Communities

Inspired by the 2010 CTAUN Conference, “Developing Globally Literate Students,” this project extended opportunities to students and adults in the U.S. to visit with people in Keroka, Kenya, in an effort to improve living conditions there and enhance cultural exchange. With a focus on the Millennium Development Goals, students were challenged to develop a practical project to be implemented when they spent two weeks in Kenya. They focused on malaria prevention and raised $30,000 to purchase 5,000 mosquito nets that were distributed in Kenyan villages.

The Global Bridge project is now developing interdisciplinary curriculum material for an elective course entitled Global Public Service that will offer students an opportunity to learn more about the role of the UN. Also, a student co-curricular activity called Model W.H.O. has been initiated to address world health issues and raise awareness in the school and the community. Students have also started an email exchange with the schools they visited in Kenya. Surveys and direct feedback for student participants and school administrators have been highly positive, as are the health care reports from Kenya on the success of the mosquito bed nets in lowering the incidence of malaria.

Lori Bathurst,   Chestnut Ridge Middle School in Washington Township, NJ.

Project title: Humanities Hope for Change

A seventh-grade unit on Africa developed with extensive use of technology by the students, this project also grew out of the 2010 CTAUN Conference.  To explore the causes and effects of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, students used the Internet to locate Ann Howard Halsey, who with her aunt, Rosamond Halsey Carr, co-authored Land of a Thousand Hills: My Life in Rwanda. Carr describes her experiences during Rwanda’s transition from colonialism to independence, culminating in the opening of the Imbabazi orphanage to care for hundreds of orphans following the genocide.

In preparation for Halsey’s visit, students read articles, watched YouTube videos, and explored the orphanage website (www.imbabazi.org) and a related website (www.rwandaproject.org) showing children using photography to illustrate Rwandan life.  Finally, the students brainstormed presentation questions and organized refreshments, a gift for Ms. Halsey, and a $100 donation for photography supplies.

The project was deeply empowering for the learners, who were able to personalize the issues of prejudice/discrimination and genocide. It also garnered strong support from the school administration, attention from local media and awards from local groups. The school is now communicating with Ms. Halsey and the Imbabazi orphanage to explore possibilities of having Chestnut Ridge students connect with Imbabazi children through technology during this school year.   — www.imbabazi.org.

Connie Rensink, Kaylyn Hughes, Kim Gideon and Annagrace Small of North Euless Elementary School, Euless, TX.

Project title: Club We Can

After attending the 2009 CTAUN Conference, “Protecting Human Rights,” four Euless, TX teachers developed a program for children in Grades 3-6 to help them understand human rights and find ways to serve their school, community and world. Since the school’s population comes from over thirty countries, many students and their families have struggled profoundly with the denial of human rights in their home countries.

After attending the 2009 CTAUN Conference, “Protecting Human Rights,” four Euless, TX teachers developed a program for children in Grades 3-6 to help them understand human rights and find ways to serve their school, community and world. Since the school’s population comes from over thirty countries, many students and their families have struggled profoundly with the denial of human rights in their home countries.

The program began with 35 students. Universal human rights and responsibilities were the foundation of all projects. A model project was designed to show students how to plan and organize volunteer work. Students then chose and organized their own projects, which included a food drive, school flowerbed maintenance, a drive for science lab materials, and a fund raising project for children in Kenya. The school year culminated with an International Night. Both academic achievement and school atmosphere improved over the course of the year. This school year has opened with 50 students, who plan to take on one project a month.

Mark Wise, Curriculum Supervisor of West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District, NJ and Seamus Dowling and Michael Jackson of Thomas Grover Middle School, West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District, NJ

Project title: Global Race to the Top

Several staff members from Thomas Grover Middle School, a culturally diverse school community, were inspired by Heidi Hayes Jacobs’ presentation on “globalizing the curriculum” during the 2010 CTAUN Conference at Rutgers. In response, they developed for eighth graders an end of year exit performance based on the UN MDGs. Students were divided into assigned countries, and each group was required to design a development plan to present to an outside group of evaluators acting as administrators in a competition for “major funding ($50 million dollars) from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), based on your abilities to most effectively communicate and solve your country’s specific development needs.”

Student teams worked on their project from June 7-10, 2010, and on June 11 each team delivered a ten-minute presentation to the group of outside judges acting as administrators from the UNDP. The team that scored the highest “won the funding” for their country.  Students were scored by the outside experts based on a rubric for effective communication as well as for problem solving. Internally they were scored for how well they were self-directed and how effectively they collaborated. The winning students also had the opportunity to skype with outside experts, including a member of the Obama Administration, a member of the UN Millennium Campaign

A DVD of the project is available by e-mailing Mark Wise at mark.wise@ww-p.org