Integration in the Multicultural School Through Cross Cultural Education

The effects of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center are being felt by children of all ages and have heightened the tensions among them. This extensive project is designed to promote cultural understanding within the high school population of 1,835 students. Integration in the Multicultural School through Cross Cultural Education, a project designed by Edison Township Education Association members Dana Pilla, Marie Keller, Dina DiDomenico, and Shelly Colletto, is intended to build a stronger sense of community among these students who speak more than eighty (80) languages among them and help children establish their own connection with the community.

A $7,960 grant from the NJEA Frederick L. Hipp Foundation for Excellence in Education provides the financial support necessary to accomplish the goals of this project. A committee of faculty from all curriculum areas, in concert with community members, will work with students to create an understanding and acceptance of the different cultures within the school. Projects will include two student-run and produced literary magazines, a Holocaust Mosaic in the lobby of the school, a student-generated musical/storytelling presentation, a Multicultural Day Festival, a presentation by Tibetan Monks, and a trip to Habitat for Humanity.

The diverse student population will be encouraged to make submissions to both an English language literary magazine and a world language magazine. Making the magazines available online will broaden their audiences and allow for community-wide access.

Literary and artistic skills will be joined together as students use their reactions to descriptions of the Holocaust to create a mosaic for the school lobby. A local musician from the Hispanic community will assist students in the creation of an original musical presentation. Students will create their own rhythms on different multicultural instruments and blend together their spoken stories to increase their sensitivity to the needs of others.

Students will learn about the lifestyle and commitment of Tibetan Monks through an assembly program designed to make a real-life connection to world cultures. A culminating activity will include participating in a Habitat for Humanity project that will strengthen the community-school relationship.

Finally, a school-wide newsletter specifically targeted to multicultural issues in the school and community-at-large will be produced on a monthly basis.

For further information, contact:

Dana Pilla