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Mar 24, 2014

School-2-School Exchanges Begin At Alderman Road

Classroom exchanges started this week between Teacher Andi Webb’s students at Alderman Road Elementary in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and students at the Sukma Bangsa School in Aceh, Indonesia, marking the start of the 2014 School-2-School program’s first phase of cross-cultural sharing and partnership.

            Program activities opened with an introductory Skype session between Ms. Webb’s first grade classroom and students in Aceh on March 21st   and plans are now being developed for a regular schedule of virtual exchanges over the semester, along with engaging classroom exercises like writing “pen pal” letters, photo exchanges, learning about each other’s homes and communities and plans for parallel science Olympiad and environmental education projects.

            Meanwhile, Ms. Webb is working with Sukma Bangsa Director Victor Yasadhana on a teacher development plan for staff at the school in Aceh to share with them her first-hand expertise in teaching English, particularly English as a second language. At the time of this report, initial training sessions are planned to take place over video conferencing and continue during Ms. Webb’s volunteer service in Aceh later this year.

           Ms. Webb has also begun community based fund-raising activities to support Sukma Bangsa “American Corner” library.  With a goal of $1000 in cash donations and $1500 in in-kind donations of books and DVDs, Ms. Webb has begun a book drive and candy sales to raise funds. You can support Ms. Webb’s drive by donating on the School-2-School Global Giving page between now and May 30.

Thank you again for your support! 

Mar 3, 2014

Introducing Andi Webb and Alderman Road

Andi Webb with students at Alderman Road
Andi Webb with students at Alderman Road

Thank you again for your support of the 2014 School-2-School program!

With this report, we’d like to introduce Andi Webb and the Alderman Road Elementary school in Fayettville, North Carolina. As part of our 2014 program, Creative Learning has partnered Ms. Webb and the students at Alderman Road with the Sukma Bangsa school in Aceh, Indonesia. The Sukma Bangsa School, one of our partners in the 2013 School-2-School program; was founded for victims of the 2004 tsunami as well as victims of Aceh’s internal conflict.

Andi Webb is an award winning K-5 Instructional Coach for all subjects. She has been teaching at Alderman Road, a Title I School with 631 students, since 1999. Ms. Webb was named Alderman Road’s Elementary Teacher of the Year (2012) as well as North Carolina’s Elementary Social Studies Teacher of the Year (2012). Ms. Webb explained that last year Alderman sought “to integrate more global instruction into our curriculum. Each grade level focuses on a particular continent with the hopes, that by the time our students leave elementary school, they will have a firm foundation for future social/global studies and a strong understanding of cultures different than our own.” In her current administrative role, Ms. Webb sees the opportunity with this School-2-School partnership to gain a high level of teacher buy-in into these learning objectives and for teachers to have “real people to understand and teach our children about instead of simply reading about people and places in books.”

At the time of this report, Ms. Webb and Victor Yasadhana, the Director of the Sukma Bangsa school, are planning the schedule and content of the skype sessions between their schools. They are considering exchanges that involve history and culture lessons, parallel science Olympiad projects, and parallel “Go Green” clubs. In addition, Ms. Webb will do some virtual teacher training with Sukma Bangsa’s teachers as well as in-person training when she volunteers in the Aceh school later this year.

As part of this partnership, Alderman Road will be raising funds to help Sukma Bangsa grow their “American Corner” library, a project that was started with last year’s S2S partnership with T.W. Browne Middle School in Dallas, Texas. With this fundraising effort, Mr. Yasadhana of Sukma Bangsa has requested that Alderman Road collect and purchase used books -- from story books to non-fiction -- that can help introduce American culture to their students, as well as documentary movies and audio CDs about US History. Ms. Webb will be setting up a fundraising site in the next two weeks, and we will post a link to that site on the America’s Unofficial Ambassadors Facebook page and blog.

In other School-2-School news for this reporting period, Creative Learning is continuing to search for a strong American partner high school or middle school for our second 2014 partnership, this one with the Carter Academy of Bangladesh. We expect to make an announcement on this partnership in the next month and will post an update on our Blog and Facebook page as well as send out a special short report to our supporters.

Thank you again for your support of this valuable program!

Alderman Road students in Fayettville, NC
Alderman Road students in Fayettville, NC
2013 contributions to Sukma "American Corner"
2013 contributions to Sukma "American Corner"
Traditional Achenese dance at Sukma Bangsa
Traditional Achenese dance at Sukma Bangsa
Students at Sukma Bangsa in Pidie, Aceh, Indonesia
Students at Sukma Bangsa in Pidie, Aceh, Indonesia
Feb 5, 2014

Project Update

Artisans reading instructions
Artisans reading instructions

Economic Opportunities for Tibetan Artisans

Project Update:

The months of November through March bring a harsh winter in the Tandui Village, in Yunnan Province. It prevents access to roads and for the team to implement capacity building and product development workshops with the Tibetan artisans. It is however a great time for the Nixi potters to start developing product collections of black pottery based on the designs they had acquired during the last summer training workshops. The new collection will be sold during the summer exchange program in the US.

During the last few months, our lead consultant, Kathy Erteman, and our local coordinator/translator, Sunnuo have been following up with the artisans on their progress for the production of new black pots. Kathy who is based in the US provided Sunnuo (who lives in China) with a list of designs in order to encourage the artisans to stay focus on what they had already learned while they produce pots. Sunnuo then visited the artisans twice in their village in October and November to give them those designs and to check on their progress. Most potters were able to follow instructions and already produced several lines of products that will be sold in the US.

In order to get ready for the 2014 summer exchange program in the US, we have also been preparing the artisans to get their passport for travel. We have sent them an invite letter, which will then be translated into Chinese by Sunnuo. It is important to start the process early so that there may not be any interruption and last minute change for the program.

On January 13, 2014 there was a fire that destroyed two third of Shangri-la town, which is very close to the Tandui Village where the Nixi Potters live. Shangri-la was a great outlet for the artisans to sell their pots to tourists and the local community. For more information about the fire, please read this article: http://www.cnn.com/ 2014/01/13/world/asia/china-shangrila-fire/

It is even more imperative after this event, that we provide more opportunities for sales to these Nixi Potters. The summer trip will definitely be a great asset for them and will have a long lasting impact on their community.

New Developed product
New Developed product
 
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