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VIF International Education, a global education partner of K-12 schools and districts, announced Thursday that the organization has partnered with A+ Schools to provide globally themed arts-integrated professional development to teachers through the VIF Learning Center.

The A+ Schools Program was established in 1995 by the Kenan Institute for the Arts and now is administered by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources. The program’s goal is to help schools build enhanced, arts-integrated learning opportunities for all students. By doing so, students in A+ Schools develop innovative ways of thinking, learning and presenting information they’ve acquired.


Gray's Creek Elementary students, parents, teachers and administrators offer their perspectives on global learning.

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The thought above, from Stough Elementary School’s art teacher Daniel James Kennington, sums things up perfectly! And this same sentiment can be applied to music, physical education, computer, language and any other resource class. For those of us who are passionate about making global education a priority and not simply a privilege, the goal is to make such teaching and learning accessible to all - all students and all teachers, through all subject areas.


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Summer can be a rich time for students to independently explore their interests, and dive deeper into global topics. These summer challenges will help students and families continue learning about cultures around the world.

K-5: Students will complete research about their region of focus in the coming year, and these summer activities can help them go back to school with background knowledge of a region, as well as curiosity to learn more.


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Summer break is a great time for teachers to relax and it also offers space to tackle bigger projects and prepare for the following year. Use the tips below to continue your global educator journey throughout the summer!

1. Research teacher travel grants.


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Holt Elementary Language Academy of Durham, N.C. has been named VIF’s 2015 Global School of the Year in honor of the school community’s outstanding commitment to global themes, cultural competence and inclusiveness.

Holt is a year-round elementary magnet school focused on global studies and foreign languages. Students have opportunities to study Mandarin or Spanish beginning in kindergarten in order to become conversationally fluent by the end of fifth grade. Teachers at Holt actively participate in structured professional development through VIF’s learning center and create classroom activities and resources that incorporate global content into everyday instruction. The school was awarded funds for global education materials and a Global School Award digital badge.


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Last week, VIF Cultural Exchange Teacher Sharon McAdam was honored as a 2015 Global Educator Award winner. McAdam, now a two-time Global Educator Award winner who has been teaching for 11 years, works with grades 6-8 at Clayton Middle School in Clayton, N.C.

Jamaica-native McAdam is very passionate about her work as a global educator, and cares just as much about learning from her students as they do from her.


This post features two NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellows, a cohort of educators who participated in a year-long learning experience on the VIF learning center to build global competency skills. Anne Beranek and Mel House, two of the fellows, shared their experiences about integrating global themes into physical education classes — check out their stories below!

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Anne Beranek — 2015 Global Learning Fellow and K-8 Physical Education Teacher at Iroquois Community School, Des Plaines, Illinois


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Earlier this month, VIF Cultural Exchange Teacher Nichola Turner was recognized as the 2015 Global Grand Prize winner. Her lesson plan was chosen as the top global submission by a committee of VIF subject experts, and she is being sponsored by VIF to attend the iEARN Conference and Youth Summit in Brasilia, Brazil in July to support her global professional development.

Turner, an 11-year teaching veteran from the United Kingdom who currently teaches first grade at Porter Ridge Elementary School in Indian Trail, N.C., is no stranger to global education and cultural exchange — she taught for two years in London and six years in Mexico City before coming to the United States.


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Sonia Ávila, a first-grade teacher from Colombia, has been recognized as a 2015 VIF Global Educator Award winner. Ávila currently teaches as a Spanish dual language immersion resident at Sun Valley Elementary School in Monroe, N.C., and is finishing her fourth year as an educator.

Ávila spends much of her time developing authentic educational projects that equip students with tools to build global competence and critical thinking skills. She feels that connecting curriculum concepts with cultural aspects of her home country is vital to her global instructional strategy.