Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Welcome Back to School!

This past year was an inspirational journey for Footprints of the Mind. We broadened our reach and were able to make connections with people far and wide in and around Chicago. We sat in a workshop with National Geographic, met with geographers from the National Council of Geographic Education, and held brainstorming sessions with members of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

However, the thing that personally impacted me the most, and the kind of thing that kept me up at night, was the huge disparity in resources between schools.  I taught a workshop to a group of 22 First Graders where more than half had a passport and at least 1/3 had been to the 2 countries I was paid to teach. When told the program cost, the response from the school was “That’s it?” It was frustrating to know that the kids that need us the most were not the ones that could pay for the valuable and immersive experience of our programs.
The difference I saw in my experience in various schools was significant; probably no different at all from many of your own experiences as educators. We met with teachers who embrace a global curriculum, and those who do not. Those who are travelers, and those who are not. Those who recognize that we are making connections and scaffolding student knowledge, and those who think of the program as merely a fun option. Those who spend hours researching the internet sifting for age appropriate content, and those who believe printing a flag and some pages from a workbook will suffice.
 
I am astounded by my own children’s experiences in this regard. My 6th grader’s peers could not name the 7 continents and 5 oceans. My teenager has an AP Human Geography book with outdated maps and information about International conflicts at least 8 years in the past. Educators are pulled in so many directions that to have a passion in one subject is practically a thing of the past.
This is where we can help.
We continue to meet with principal after principal who immediately recognize the value, and it is never a matter of if they want our programs but rather how they would pay for it. We put on our creative hats and came up with programs that would meet the needs of the students that need us the most.
The options I have outlined in the attached proposals allow me to do what I love doing while at the same time reflecting the needs of the staff as outlined in the new Illinois Social Studies Standards effective Jan. 27, 2016. I am also happy to say that providing the “a la carte” option significantly reduces the cost of the program. By doing this, we are able to make it available to more schools, impacting more students, and strengthening the cultural and global foundation of not only the student body, but the next generation of citizens. 
Take a look and contact your Principals and PTA/PTO’s and let’s work together to provide the best experience possible for your students.
Warm regards,
Irene


P.S. Our website is being revamped! Stay in touch for the grand RE-OPENING of Footprints of the Mind! Lots of new and exciting updates to share!

If you are interested in learning more, shoot me an email or fill out our contact form: http://www.footprintsofthemind.com/contact.htm

We would love to partner with you and your students to make this the best year ever!

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