Broward County Schools and Peace Corps Build Bridges Across Cultures

October 8, 2004

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 8, 2004 – Broward County Public Schools of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the nation’s sixth largest school district, is the first school district to adopt the Peace Corps’ Building Bridges educational materials to help build bridges across cultures and break down stereotypes in America. Nearly 250 schools in Broward County are incorporating the Building Bridges materials into their curriculum and classrooms for this academic year.

Not only is Broward County one of the nation’s largest school districts with students from over 159 countries, it is also one of the most diverse student bodies in the U.S. Due to the high level of cross-cultural interaction taking place, school district officials have been working with Peace Corps representatives over the past year to bring the Building Bridges program into their curriculum—making improved cross-cultural relating skills an even higher priority in today’s classroom.

One of several classroom guides from the Peace Corps’ Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools program, Building Bridges is a set of short, adaptable lesson plans focused on tackling issues such as resolving cross-cultural misunderstanding, generalizations, seeing both sides of an issue, and how to fully appreciate a different culture. Adapted from the Peace Corps’ publications, Building Bridges assists teachers of grades six through 12 to build cross-cultural awareness, respect, and communication in their classrooms.

With its cumulative experience and ongoing mission, the Peace Corps is uniquely positioned to offer lessons promoting cultural understanding.

“The Peace Corps’ third goal is to help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of all Americans, and many of our award winning educational materials work toward this goal,” said Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez. “Today, more than 270,000 students in Florida will have a chance to bridge the gap between other cultures in their community, thanks to the teachers and administrators of Broward County.”

For more information about the Building Bridges Classroom Guide and the Peace Corps’ Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools Program, please visit http://www.peacecorps.gov/wws/index.html.

Since 1961, more than 171,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a two-year commitment.

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