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New Salem Elementary Provides Community with a Passport to the World

New Salem Elementary School held its first annual community-wide International Festival on Thursday evening, March 25, 2010.  The event began with a parade of nations which featured the colors, traditions, artifacts and music representing countries that each grade level had selected as a focus for the school year.  A highlight of parade was the 4th and 5th grade recorder band under the direction of music teacher, Mr. Devin Reid.  Following the parade, families participated in a variety of events selected from a menu of choices.  Grade level groups presented music and dance exhibitions featuring songs from around the world.  An international art exhibit, showcasing over 200 pieces of student art work created under the instruction of art teacher Kristina Hill, represented various world-wide artists and styles.  Parents and students watched as folktales of good verses evil from across the world were shared by New Salem staff members.  During this global event, parents used 21st Century technology to chat with each other across the campus using SKYPE.  Also, families tested their knowledge of the seven continents using the Promethean Acti-vote hand-held voting devices.  Another exciting and educational component of the Passport to the World program featured  New Salem parents and staff members who shared about their international travels using photos, artifacts, and personal stories.  The international speaker series included Robert Mosley (Uganda), Mark Griffin (Japan), Chris Hope (England), Mark Berardelli (Peru), Amy Kafitz (Switzerland), Kelly Polk (Africa), Jeff Gaura (Nepal), Theresa Savery (Canda), and Lisa Warren (Swaziland). 

Passport to the World sets the stage for another exciting international opportunity that will take place at the school in April.  New Salem, and its principal Neil Hawkins, have been selected to participate in the 2010 USA-Thailand Principal Exchange Program. This program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State.  The 2010 Thailand Principal Educational Seminar Exchange Program is designed to provide an opportunity for collaboration with a Thai educator in the United States, for two weeks. A reciprocal visit to Thailand by Mr. Hawkins is also part of this exchange during the summer of 2010. The program offers a unique opportunity for principals to share experiences, develop classroom methodology, and increase international understanding between Thailand and American educators.

Events like those described above provide New Salem students the opportunity to continue to grow as 21st Century learners as well as support the UCPS mission of global literacy by encouraging communication, acceptance, understanding, and collaboration in a diverse, interdependent world.


Written by: Neil Hawkins
Posted: Mar 26, 2010 by Tracy Jones

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