1. Spanish Language Program for Elementary School Grades
2. STEP (Science, Technology and Engineering) Programs
3. Teacher China Trip
4. Teacher Professional Development
5. District Membership to Primary Source
6. Rosetta Stone software for French and Spanish Language Instruction
7. Teacher Appreciation drive – $100 for each teacher for discretionary supplies
Quotes from the school
Spanish Language Program: We spoke with Andrea Seddon whose enthusiasm was contagious. “We are thrilled with having Spanish in the elementary program and I am proud to tell everyone I meet that in Carlisle we start teaching Spanish in KINDERGARTEN. They are so impressed. The new program is off to a fabulous start. Many parents say to me how pleased they are that their first or second grade child is teaching them Spanish songs or that Spanish is their favorite part of the week. When the kindergarten students are outside for recess, they make me feel like a movie star with their barrage of “Hola, Señora Seddon!!” and running up to tell me the Spanish words they learned at home on ‘Dora the Explorer’ or the ilk. A central goal of the elementary program is to instill a love of learning and an excitement for the Spanish language. This, we seem to be doing.” Research shows there is a critical period in which children are most efficient at learning new languages. This tends to end near the age of ten. If we are truly interested in connecting them to a larger world in this time of “globalization,” then we must offer language classes at the very earliest levels through songs, games, story-telling and role-playing. It exposes them to new cultures and can even help them understand English better. Starting in the early grades also promotes proficiency, allows pronunciation to be learned effectively, and aids in multicultural understanding. The most recent research also shows students of foreign languages tend to score higher on standardized tests. Results from the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) show that students who studied a foreign language for four or more years outscored other students on the verbal and math portions of the test [ERIC 1992 and SAT 2003]. The program is constantly being reviewed, as it is the first year, for pace and content. The World Language Task Force committee discusses these issues as well as proper assessment techniques. CEF has committed to fund this pilot program for two years.
STEP (Science, Technology and Engineering) Programs: Three more STEP offerings are starting up in November. Over thirty students are enrolled in these classes. One offering is .Math is a Blast,. taught by parent volunteer Laura Marshall and teacher Jen Lyons. This class is for second and third graders. They.ll be playing a variety of number games. An .Electricity and Electronics. class, taught by parent volunteer Walter Hickman and the new seventh grade teacher, Brad Cranston, is being offered for fourth and fifth graders. This class is being offered to a younger set this year; it will allow fourth graders to build on their electrical knowledge gained last year in class. The third offering is for middle school students. .ArcKIDtecture,. taught by architect Debbie Bentley along with teacher Erin McAuley Rooney, will give students the basics in architectural design and then ask them to improve upon our own school. Maybe we can use their ideas as the Carlisle Public Schools are expanded! All of these classes were hits. There will be more offerings in the winter. Thank you to all the parent volunteers, teachers, and the generous donors to CEF who helped make this happen.
Teacher China Trip: Last April, four teachers from the Carlisle Schools set off for a two week trip to China funded by CEF and Primary Source. They visited Beijing, Xi’an, Chengdu, Lijiang and Shanghai and toured schools and attended cultural events. The teachers shared highlights of the trip. Beijing.We loved going to the Great Wall and visiting a cloisonné factory. But as a teacher, visiting the Dandelion School for Migrant Workers Children and teaching in their classroom was enlightening. We met all of the teachers at the school and discussed the similarities and differences between our two educational systems and how teachers are trained in both countries. Xi’an – We were invited for a home visit with a Chinese English teacher and got to know the seven middle school students that she had also invited to her home. Outside of Xi’an we also visited the Pangliu Village School and were allowed to teach in the classrooms. We later visited the ancient Terra Cotta Warriors site. Chengdu – We went to the Panda Research Institute and actually got into the enclosure with a panda! Also we went to the Chinese Opera at a teahouse. Lijiang – We saw the Himalayan Mountains up close and visited with a Naxi minority group in this city. We also went to see the Naxi musicians, who have survived the Cultural Revolution and still perform with the instruments that they had to bury in the ground during that ten year period. Shanghai – We went to see the Jewish quarter and museum. The art is thousands of years old! Jades, bronze and ceramics.
Eight months later, here are some teacher comments:
Courtney Hadley (middle school art teacher): Being introduced to a culture with different values and customs is incredible. Eight months later my trip to China still invigorates my teaching. I have written three units, two that are interdisciplinary, including ten different lessons. Topics include art but also poetry, self-identity and geography. I will be offering a course to teachers in the spring called Global Awareness through art. My trip made me more empathetic, more patient and a better member of the global community. It will forever be one of the highlights of my life.
Peter Darasz (second grade teacher): My wife told me that I am much calmer and do not get as upset with little things. When you see such poverty, you understand how fortunate we are. Whenever the opportunity arises in class, I tell the children about the schools I visited and how little they have at their schools or in their individual living quarters. However, I also tell my kids that the children are happy and feel extremely fortunate to learn at school, have food to eat and a bed to sleep in at the school.
Sue LaPorte (elementary school reading specialist): I have designed two study units for teachers. One compares Chinese and American education with slides I took in Chinese schools. Another unit compares fables from the U.S., China and Vietnam. The units show students that people are more alike than different. I travel every Tuesday to spend one hour with the wife of our travel leader from Primary Source. She teaches me Mandarin and shares what life is like in China. It is an hour that has a profound effect on me.
Jen Reinhard (fifth grade teacher): During our RAP on Culture program I used my China trip to model what was expected throughout the unit. I also linked our endangered species program with my visit with the panda in Chengdu. I want to open my students. eyes to the power that they possess in helping others both in our country and around the world.