Chelsea High School's Bridge Academy Hosts Cultural Museum

18 March 2014

Now in its third year, Primary Source's Global Teacher Scholarship program is going strong. Thanks to targeted donations from several generous donors, we are able to offer scholarships to educators from local under-resourced school districts to attend Cultural Proficiency in Today's Diverse Schools: A Multidisciplinary Approach, our signature summer institute for K-12 educators working in culturally diverse schools. Each scholarship winner is required to use ideas and resources they gained in the institute to implement meaningful and sustainable projects in their schools. We are thrilled to have an opportunity to reach educators who serve students from economically and culturally diverse backgrounds and who have a strong interest in furthering cultural proficiency in their school communities.

We recently connected with one of our 2013 scholarship winners to see how her classroom project was going and hear her thoughts on the importance of cultural proficiency for educators of diverse classrooms.

Carol GordensteinCarol Gordenstein
Chelsea, Massachusetts

Scholarship winner Carol Gordenstein has been teaching English Language Learners (ELL) at Chelsea High School in Chelsea, Massachusetts, for almost 10 years. A guiding presence in the school's collaborative Bridge Academy, Carol knows what's at stake for her students and their futures. "Our students face so many social and cultural issues every day," says Carol. "I knew that the Primary Source summer institute would provide a forum for discussing the unique issues that multicultural communities face, and what we, as teachers, can do to help our students be successful in a global community."

With the ideas and resources she gained in the Cultural Proficiency summer course, Carol returned to her 9-12 grade ELL students in the fall ready to create something meaningful. Students were tasked with conducting extensive research on their own country, and designing a presentation for the culminating "Museum Exhibit" that included a display board and a self-identification book. Working in groups as well as individually, students had the opportunity to learn valuable research techniques in the library, while learning more about the unique cultures of their peers.

On Museum Exhibit Day, the students were clearly excited to share their hard work. Visitors had the opportunity to browse a diverse range of countries, including Honduras, Haiti, Nepal, El Salvador, Cape Verde, Brazil, Rwanda, and Somalia. Because the self-identification books required a history of their country, a personal poem, a memoir, and cultural, religious, and geographic facts, Carol knew her students would enjoy taking the information they gained and putting it into their own words. "It was rewarding to watch this museum project give them a better appreciation of self, of others, and of each others' countries," she said.

What's next for Carol's students? They will be building on their museum exhibits by hosting food and cultural demonstrations reflective of their countries. If time allows in the school year, Carol is also considering a living quilt project. "So many ideas…just not enough time." she says.

It's enthusiasm like Carol's that makes the Global Teacher Scholarship so rewarding for us at Primary Source. If you are an educator in an underserved school, and you are interested in attending our summer institute Cultural Proficiency in Today's Diverse Schools: A Multidisciplinary Approach, we encourage you to apply today!




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