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2016 Christa McAuliffe Reach for the Stars Award

Adopt a Country Project

The Adopt a Country Project will enable students to learn about the culture, history and current events of adopted countries; showcase the results of this research by designing a website about their adopted country; and teach other students. After learning about their adopted country and teaching their peers, students will be further challenged to identify a social issue faced by their adopted country and come up with a way to address that issue.  Finally, students will vet their proposals and select one to implement.  In short, the Adopt a Country Project will enable students to explore the essential question of what it means to be a global citizen and to take informed action as they embark on the path to global citizenship.

Through this project, students will be exposed to what other parts of the world are like, they will begin to dismantle prejudices, stereotypes and preconceived notions about certain countries and their people. Students will also begin to identify the many things that people share, regardless of where they live and will begin to appreciate other cultures. They will begin to see that problems faced by other countries are the responsibility of all of us -- as we are all members of one global community.

The success of the various components of this project will be assessed throughout the year. Students will be assessed on the research conducted regarding the adopted country as well as the creation of the weebly site; students will also be assessed on their ability to identify a problem and the creative solution to that problem; and, once the service learning component is underway, students will also be assessed on their ability to collaborate and effectively organize and execute a service project.  Students will also set their own goals for the service project and it will be easy to determine if they are able to reach these goals.

The project will be designed to be used by any teacher who wants to introduce his/her students to the concepts of global citizenship. Kim Leegan and Andrea Brennan will present the outcomes of their project at the 2017 Annual Conference in San Francisco, November 17-19.

About the Project Team

Andrea Brennan is supervisor of grades k-12 in Westfield Public Schools. She earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from Trenton State College, Trenton, NJ and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Rutgers University, Brunswick, NJ, and completed the NJEXCEL School Leadership Program in 2008. Her certifications include: New Jersey Certificate of Eligibility School Administrator & Principal, New Jersey Standard Certificate Supervisor, and New Jersey Standard Certificate Teacher of Social Studies & Teacher of English.

Kim Leegan is a social studies teacher at Westfield High School where her responsibilities include writing and revising the Global Perspectives Curriculum, creating the curriculum for Mock Trial, serving as co-chair of the Give 4 Good Fundraiser to benefit the ‘Good Project,’ and coordinating the ‘Shoe Drive’ to benefit ‘Mission Haiti Helping Kids.’ She earned a J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law, Newark, NJ and a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT.  She is a New Jersey standard certified teacher of social studies and completed the New Jersey “New Pathways for teaching in New Jersey Program.”

About the NCSS Christa McAuliffe Reach for the Stars Award