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Connecting the Americas Scholars Program: From Durham, North Carolina to Guanajuato, Mexico
A Professional Development Program for Durham Public Schools Teachers
Presented by the Duke Office of Durham and Community Affairs and the UNC-Duke Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and sponsored by the Duke Office of Global Affairs, the Hanscom Endowment, the Duke Office of the President, and the U.S. Department of Education.
The Office of Durham and Community Affairs and the UNC-Duke Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies are partnering to offer a new focus on bringing Latin American curriculum to K-12 classrooms. In this joint endeavor, called “Connecting the Americas,” teachers work with a curriculum development specialist to design new classroom content based on learning and experiences gained through interactive workshops and a travel-study tour to Guanajuato, Mexico. Teachers will create and disseminate new curriculum based on their research and exploration of topics, such as history, economy, art, immigration, etc., that connect the United States and Latin America.
– Prepare teachers to support students from Latin American immigrant families;
– Create and disseminate curriculum materials related to Latin American communities and immigration;
– Promote teacher collaboration across schools and grade levels.
Who should apply? What is the selection process?
One of the objectives of the program is to develop new curriculum for the classroom. Teams of two classroom teachers (from the same or different schools) should apply. Complete one application per team. More than one team from the same school may apply; however, we will only select one team per school. Last year, thirty-seven Durham educators applied.
The program coordinators will select ten Scholars who make up a diverse and complimentary group. In addition to the content of the application, program coordinators will consider teaching and travel experience, Spanish language ability, and academic field. We will prioritize educators from schools with large Latino student populations. Four of the ten educators will be from Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership schools (E.K. Powe, Forest View, Lakewood, Watts Montessori, Y.E. Smith elementary schools and Lakewood Montessori, Rogers-Herr and Durham School of the Arts middle schools).
We will notify all applicants about the final participant selection decision by February 28, 2019. Once selected, participants must remain with Durham Public School through the 2019-2020 school year.
What will we do in Mexico?
We will spend the first four days in the city of Irapuato. We will teach English lessons (developed by you) at a two room, multi-grade school in a rural community about twenty minutes from Irapuato. There is no running water at the school. We will spend the last four days in the city of Guanajuato touring local markets and cultural and historical sites. We will stay at a hotel in Irapuato and in a bed and breakfast in Guanajuato.
The daily schedule is very full. Participants can expect to start daily around 7 or 8 a.m. and finish around 7 or 8 p.m. We will do our best to schedule breaks during the afternoon. Participants should be flexible to changes in the schedule while in Mexico. A full itinerary will be available to participants in April.
What do I need to know about traveling to Mexico?
We will travel to the cities of Irapuato and Guanajuato within the state of Guanajuato. The state of Guanajuato is one of the safest in Mexico, and we travel with local guides. The safety, and relative comfort, of participants is our priority, and we try to mitigate the inherent risks of travel to the extent possible.
According to the CDC, the Zika virus is present throughout Mexico. Women who are pregnant should not travel to Mexico. Partners of pregnant women and couples considering pregnancy should know the risks to pregnancy and take prevention steps. All travelers should prevent mosquito bites and sexual exposure to Zika virus. Please read more about traveling to areas where the virus is present. Guanajuato is 6,600 feet above sea level, which lowers the likeliness of encountering mosquitos that carry the virus. Irapuato is 5,676 feet above sea level.
The city of Guanajuato is a UNESCO world heritage site located in the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range. The slopped streets are paved with cobblestone and stairs can be quite steep. Participants are required to wear close-toed, flat-heeled shoes while in Guanajuato. Irapuato is located in a low-lying region called the Bajío. Major flooding occurred in June 2018 throughout the region because of a hurricane. Participants are required to wear close-toed shoes that they don’t mind getting muddy while working in the rural community.
PROGRAM DATES – By applying, you are committing to be available to participate in each workshop and the study tour.
March 22 (4:30-6:30pm) – Orientation
March 23 (9am – 4pm) – Let’s Talk Racism Conference at NCCU
April 5 – Participant Fee Installment 1 Due: $250
April 22 (4:30 – 6:30pm) – Workshop: Lesson planning for teaching in a Mexican school
May 3 – Participant Fee Installment 2 Due: $250
May 3 (9am – 5:30pm) – Workshop: Overview of Immigration, Education in Guanajuato
May 4 (9am – 4:30pm) – Workshop: Nasher Museum exhibit; Lesson & Travel Planning
May 31 (4:30 – 6:30pm) – Workshop: Review travel itinerary & information
June 15 – 22 –Travel-study tour in Guanajuato, Mexico
July 11 (9am – 4pm) and July 12 (9am – 2pm) – Workshop: Equity in education & create lesson plans
October 26 (6-7pm) – Día de los Muertos Fall Art Festival at DSA
November 29 (4:30 – 6:30pm) – Final celebration and closing ceremony
Fall/Spring 2019-2020 – Observation of lesson by peer or instructional facilitator
Upon completion of all activities, teachers will be eligible to receive up to 8 CEUs through Durham Public Schools. Credits can be applied towards earning a Global Educator Digital Badge from DPI.
The participant fee is $500 and can be paid in two installments of $250 each. This fee will partially cover round-trip airfare from RDU to Guanajuato, lodging, most meals, and entrance fees to exhibits and other activities. Other costs will be covered by the Duke Office of Durham and Community Affairs and the UNC-Duke Consortium in Latin American & Caribbean Studies. After airfare is purchased, participants will be responsible for reimbursing Duke for the cost of the ticket should they unexpectedly be unable to travel. (The ticket would remain in the participant’s name for use at a later date.) In addition, participants will be responsible for: passport fees (if ordering new or renewing); immunizations or other medical needs; optional meals on your own in Mexico; other incidentals.
Following the CTA program, participants will:
– Allow the UNC-Duke Consortium in Latin American & Caribbean Studies to make their curriculum unit available for download on their website.
– Share pertinent information gained from their cross-cultural experience with colleagues, administrators, and/or other education professionals.
– Complete all relevant program evaluation assessments conducted by the Duke Office of Durham and Community Affairs and the UNC-Duke Consortium in Latin American & Caribbean Studies.
The program has taken teachers and administrators to Santa Elena, Yucatan, Mexico and to Guanajuato, Mexico to explore the Mexican school system and local culture and to learn about the social, political and economic circumstances from which many of Durham’s immigrant families come.
Before and after the trip, participants work closely with Latino parent leaders at their own schools to identify common goals and develop creative strategies to achieve those goals. They also learn about Durham’s Latino community through workshops, discussions and field trips.
The school-based initiatives that have emerged from the Visions program include better interpretation services for school events; outreach to and recruitment of Latino parents to School Improvement Teams and Parent Teacher Associations; support for mentoring and service programs led by Latino students; and training school personnel on the district’s language access resources.