ICS was awarded with the CTAUN Excellence In Education Award, which recognizes the efforts of educators and community leaders to find ways of helping students learn about the goals of the United Nations in all parts of the world.
The Committee for Teaching About The United Nations (CTAUN) provides educators worldwide with opportunities to learn about the work of the United Nations and to incorporate this global awareness into curricula and school activities at all levels.
ICS friend and former Board member James Badger wrote and submitted the application nominating ICS under the topic Refugees: The 21st Century Challenge, and title The International Community School: Successfully creating a diverse community of refugee, immigrant, and local children learning together.
Dr. Badger shares the following:
“I immediately thought of nominating ICS for the United Nation’s CTAUN “Excellence in Education Award” when I heard the theme for this year’s 2017 conference: “REFUGEES: THE 21st CENTURY CHALLENGE.” I have been connected with ICS for almost five years as a board member (for a couple of years) and advocate of the school’s mission (since the first day I met the ICS teachers and students). I support the mission of ICS: to provide refugee, immigrant, and local children with a rigorous and holistic education in an intentionally diverse community of mutual learners. The model and practice of ICS needs to be shared with parents, community members, business representatives, and those interested and concerned about education in this state and other states.
One of the best learning outcomes of ICS is the ongoing work that teachers, teaching assistants, language teachers, specials’ teachers, volunteers, and administrators devoted to ICS students to become academically successful learners who are also empathetic and accepting of difference. The work by the ICS teachers, teaching assistants, language teachers, specials’ teachers, volunteers, and administrators to achieve this outcome extends beyond the classroom to organized after-school programs and other community building activities designed to offer students exposure to other cultures and perspectives. This includes ICS’s School Within the School, After School Enrichment Program, Reading Recovery, after-school programs, soccer program, and celebration of United Nations Day”.
Dr. Badger, Ms. Beth White (ICS Gifted Teacher) and Ms. Hattie Burchart (ICS Kindergarten teacher) went to New York at the end of January to receive this award on behalf of the school.
Ms. Hattie comments:
“It was an incredible experience to be able to attend the CTAUN (Committee for Teaching About the United Nations) conference on “Refugees, the 21st Century Challenge” at the United Nations in New York City. Before the conference, I was able to tour the United Nations. To walk onto international land and see the different assemblies meeting and discussing how to work together as countries from all over the world to create and maintain peace was an amazing experience. At our conference on refugees, we were able to hear from some key leaders of refugee organizations and members of the UN. I was impressed how each of them recognized our key part of the process as educators in the classroom. I truly felt like we were a part of something and together we can make change. What an honor for our school to be recognized for an Award of Excellence for all the work we do to create a diverse community of refugees, immigrant, and local children, helping them all find value in our different cultures. It was a privilege to accept the award with Ms. Beth and Dr. Badger on behalf of our school. During the conference a comment made by one of the speakers really resonated with me, “Containment will not solve the problem. Engagement will.” -Bill Frelick: Refugee Policy Director of Human Rights. This is what we do every day at our school. We engage with refugees. We engage with immigrants. We engage with local children and we seek to foster an environment of peace and understanding.”
Excerpts of the application read as follows: “Since its founding 15 years ago, the project of the International Community School (ICS) in Atlanta, Georgia, has been to provide refugee, immigrant, and local children with a rigorous and holistic education in an intentionally diverse community of mutual learners… Students learn the state standards to be academically successful as well as providing opportunities for children to share their own culture and to find similarities in their differences. By educating refugee and local children, ICS builds stronger communities. Children at ICS are more accepting of differences in the world around them, and more compassionate toward others… ICS is a model for other schools when thinking about how to successfully educate refugee, immigrant, and local children – and to build stronger communities – that emphasize international mindedness, academic achievement, celebration of cultural differences, and social, emotional and psychological support… One of the best learning outcomes of ICS is the ongoing work that teachers, teaching assistants, language teachers, specials’ teachers, volunteers, and administrators devote to ICS students to become academically successful learners who are also empathetic and accepting of difference… The work by the ICS teachers, teaching assistants, language teachers, specials’ teachers, volunteers, and administrators to achieve this outcome extends beyond the classroom to organized after-school programs and other community building activities designed to offer students exposure to other cultures and perspectives…”