World Wise Schools Celebrates 20 Years of Bringing the World into Classrooms

October 20, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 20, 2009 In honor of Peace Corps Coverdell World Wise Schools (WWS) 20th anniversary of helping U.S. schoolchildren better understand and appreciate diverse cultures and world issues, WWS hosted a two-day conference, Educating For a Flattened World, at the Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C. last week. Over 100 U.S. based educators, leaders, and representatives from different organizations attended the conference, which focused on incorporating global issues into classrooms.

Keynote speakers included Dr. Don Leu, Neag Endowed Chair in Literacy and Technology at the University of Connecticut, and Dr. Fernando Reimers of the Ford Foundation and Professor and Director of the International Education Policy Program of Harvard University. Dr. Leu spoke on New Literacies for an Online Flattened World, Primed to Promote Global Understanding, and Dr. Reimers spoke on Leading School Change to Develop Global Competency.

Dr. Reimers urged educators to work together to promote global education in schools. We need to extend the opportunity to develop global competencies to most of our children and to make sure that global competency is not the next great equality divide in our country, he said. It is not an opportunity for the most privileged children in America. Many parents, many students do want to learn. If we know how to advance global competency and we know what works, why cant we do it everywhere?

Founded in 1989, Peace Corps World Wise Schools program helps U.S. schoolchildren better understand other cultures and international events through free and readily accessible publications; stories and lesson plans; multimedia resources; and a service learning module. Today, through the use of its easy to navigate website www.peacecorps.gov/wws, World Wise Schools provides easy-to-implement programs that educators can incorporate into their classrooms. In addition to the written curriculum, teachers can choose to be matched up with both currently serving and returned Peace Corps volunteers that provide a vibrant, engaging and firsthand way for students to learn. Over 50 percent of currently-serving Peace Corps volunteers also participate in the World Wise Schools program.

World Wise Schools allows Peace Corps volunteers to bring their experiences back by connecting the volunteers with U.S. schoolchildren, said Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams. Peace Corps volunteers firsthand experience, when combined with the excellent World Wise Schools curriculum, creates a phenomenal program that opens the world to students and provides free and readily available resources for teachers.

To learn more, and to access resources offered through World Wise Schools, visit the Peace Corps website at www.peacecorps.gov/wws.

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