The First Intercambio
The Project: Introduce students and teachers from public and private schools
The Goal: Make connections which open new opportunities for friendships and new perspectives of the world.
- Mike Humberto: a 2nd grade teacher at Rodolfo Menendez Primaria and founder of Educativos, an education focused collaborative that organizes academic contests for the public schools.
- Jim Conklin and Alicia Meno: directors of the International School of Playa (ISP), a private progressive school in PDC
- Sandra Garcia: lead teacher at ISP
- Christina Torres: Playa’s new Municipal President and education advocate
- Juan Garcia: head of libraries in PDC, Christina has charged him with building readership
- Grupo Azotea: a restaurant company that KKIS has partnered with on other projects. La Panaderia, one of their restaurants has worked with KKIS to provide daily bread to a Food for Thought program at Rodolfo Menendez ensuring that students have food to they can concentrate on their studies.
Mike Humberto has worked with KKIS the past couple of years on spelling bees and math contests, but has always wanted to do a student exchange to help his students learn about other people who live in PDC. Jim and Alicia at ISP have talked to KKIS several times about wanting to do an exchange or a project with a local public school. This year they came together to put on an amazing exchange for students in both schools. Sandra Garcia and Mike Humberto met several times to plan out a day that would meet their goals and expectations. They included Juan Garcia (no relation to Sandra) from the Public Library to include the reading of books to students during the exchange.
A penpal exchange was organized throughout the month of March between the 2nd grade students in each school, a chance for them to get to know one another. Last week the students met in person when the ISP students traveled to Nicte Ha to the Rodolfo Menendez school.
Students ISP sang a song and performed a puppet theater for their new friends at Rodolfo Menendez. Juan Garcia and his staff read from children’s book and talked about the joys of reading. Under the deportiva dome in mixed groups of 10, the students worked on timed activities – a word challenge, a puzzle and a paper craft project. Teachers and students enjoyed ham and cheese sandwiches provided by La Panaderia restaurant.
Before parting ways, ISP presented a ton of books they were donating to the RM library. With new friends made, creative energy spent and filled with food, the students ended their day. The adults went home feeling like they had accomplished their goal and witnessed a beautiful collaboration that served the children of PDC.