Durham educators are preparing to immerse themselves in Latin American culture, history and immigrant experiences, both in the U.S. classroom and abroad in Mexico.
Ten teachers, counselors and administrators from Durham Public Schools were accepted this week into the 2018 Visions “Connecting the Americas” program, an annual professional development opportunity organized by the Duke Office of Durham & Regional Affairs and the UNC-Duke Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. The application process was open this spring to all Durham Public Schools educators, and the 10 selected participants will attend interactive workshops this spring in Durham as well as spend a week during the summer in Guanajuato, Mexico to learn about immigration and the Mexican school system and culture.
Using experiences and artifacts gathered from the trip, participants will work with each other to create new curricula focused on Latin American culture, history and issues, as well as provide a stronger support system for immigrant students and immigrant families in Durham Public Schools.
“I was delighted to receive so many applications from outstanding educators,” said Channa Pickett, senior program coordinator for the Duke Office of Durham & Regional Affairs and co-organizer of the Visions program. “We are excited to watch the 2018 cohort grow personally and professionally through this experience, here at home by participating in workshops as well as abroad in Mexico by immersing themselves in the culture and education system.”
Here are the Durham Public Schools educators who have been accepted as the 2018 Visions “Connecting the Americas” Scholars:
|Pamela K. Taylor||School Counselor||Durham Performance Learning Center|
|Gwen D. Roulhac||Student Services Coordinator, K-12 Counseling||Durham Public Schools|
|Caitlin Mary Donovan||English Teacher||Durham School of the Arts|
|Mary Katherine Brown||Social Studies Teacher||Durham School of the Arts|
|Abby Exum||AIG Specialist||Lakewood Elementary|
|Rachel Whitlock||ESL Teacher||Lakewood Elementary|
|Kia Janelle Allah||Spanish Teacher||Neal Middle|
|Joanna Ali||STEM/Career & Technical Education Teacher||Neal Middle|
|Maticka Frederick||Kindergarten Teacher||R.N. Harris Elementary|
|Kishwa Granson||Kindergarten Teacher||R.N. Harris Elementary|
The cohort will also be led by Fabiola Salas Villalobos, a geographer from Costa Rica and foreign language teacher in the Triangle.
“The U.S. Department of Education is pushing and encouraging teachers to have a global approach in their classrooms, where they prepare students to be global citizens and know about the world,” Salas Villalobos said. “The Visions teachers are going to have real experiences during the trip to Mexico, which will allow them to create a curriculum for their students that is culturally sensitive, relevant, and will strengthen the connection between students and teachers.”
Educators who participate in Visions will work with curriculum development specialists to create new classroom content or school programs.
“Breaking through the language barrier, assisting in helping students develop fluency in English, making assignments or even entire lessons that include direct connections to (Latin American) culture, and understanding the best ways to interact with my Latinx students so that they feel comfortable and encouraged, are all things that I feel I need to work on,” wrote Caitlin Mary Donovan, an English teacher at Durham School of the Arts, in her Visions application. “Having a deeper understanding of the rich culture of my Latinx students can only help the classroom environment.”
The participants will travel to Guanajuato, Mexico on June 23.
The 2018 Visions program is sponsored by the Duke Office of Global Affairs and Hanscom Endowment, the Duke Office of the President, and the U.S. Department of Education.