Two Barrow County high school teachers started back to school this year better prepared to address the unique educational needs of Latino students, thanks to a teacher exchange partnership with UGA. The program, coordinated by the Mexican government, aims to improve educational services for Latinos in the U.S. and to encourage long-lasting linkages between teachers in both countries.
“One of the goals of public service and outreach programs at UGA is to work towards creating a continuous educational pipeline for Latino children to help ensure the long-term economic future of the state of Georgia,” says Art Dunning, UGA’s vice president for public service and outreach. “There is a clear link between education and the economic prosperity of both individuals and the entire state.”
Based on a joint proposal submitted by UGA’s Office of International Public Service and Outreach and the Teacher Recruitment Center in Winder, the Mexican Consulate in Atlanta selected the Barrow County school district for the 2005 exchange program.
“We consider it critically important that teachers are exposed to these culturally enriching activities and gain a more comprehensive perspective of the challenges we face in the U.S. and Mexico in the area of education,” says Remedios Gomez Arnau, Mexican consul general in Atlanta.
Last April, Diana Perez, a teacher from Monterrey, Mexico, spent two weeks at Winder-Barrow High School, where she taught Spanish language and Mexican culture. She also participated in a UGA student service-learning program that provided health care information to the local Latino community and attended a class on multicultural instruction in UGA’s College of Education.
Lori Barron and Lucinda York-Rickards, Spanish teachers at Winder-Barrow High School, traveled to Cuernavaca, Mexico, for two weeks in June. They worked with teachers and students in grades kindergarten through high school. Both teachers plan to initiate an e-mail exchange program this fall between Winder-Barrow High School students and a school in Morelos, Mexico. They hope the e-mail exchange will lead to a student exchange program.