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    Giving Back, En Español
    Posted on 02/15/2018
    Students talk together around a table in the classroom

    Chief Sealth Global Leadership Students Come Back to Concord as Mentors

    On a rainy January morning, Montserrat Delavigne's fourth-fifth grade class at Concord International Elementary School listens with quiet anticipation as their teacher explains the next activity. The classroom hums with excitement as they see their classroom guests arrive—the Global Leadership students from Chief Sealth International High School.

    Global Leadership is an accredited high school course focused on student leadership development, global issues and service learning. Throughout the one-semester course, students tackle complex global issues in their classroom discussions and then push themselves to develop leadership skills through the adopt-a-class project. It is taught at several Seattle high schools, but Chief Sealth is unique because it offers the language immersion component.

    This marks the third visit by Pedro Lopez-Chaves and his tenth grade students to Concord this school year. The two teachers greet each other and the classes before the students break into small groups for a social studies lesson.

    For the next 45 minutes, the teens take the helm to conduct lessons on topics such as climate change, immigration and other contemporary global issues. In small groups of six to eight, with roughly equal number of high school and elementary students, they engage in fun, interactive learning activities—all conducted in Spanish.

    "I have seen a massive improvement in my student's academic skills," said Delavigne. "Not only because the Chief Sealth students are presenting these lessons in formal Spanish but because my students look up to these older students."

    Group of high school and elementary students talk at a tableTwo teachers talk togetherStudent sit around a table togetherStudent teaches at the white boardTeacher and students look at a class photoClassroom displayStudents work together at a table
    See more photos of the Chief Sealth and Concord students collaborating at Concord International Elementary School in January 2018.

    Dr. Norma Zavala, Concord's principal, views the collaboration as an excellent opportunity for a reciprocal learning experience for students and educators.

    "This partnership is teacher created and driven. Mr. Lopez-Chaves and Ms. Delavigne collaborate to provide this meaningful learning opportunity for their students in the K-12 Dual Language Continuum," said Zavala.

    At the same time, the students' enthusiasm for the opportunity to give back to their community is clear. The Global Leadership students at Chief Sealth first adopted Concord for a service project in 2015, but many of the high school students that are participating this year are alumni of the elementary school.

    Teacher and students look at a class photoAt the end of the class period, the teachers and students jovially share a class photo from 2012, the year Lopez-Chaves’ students were Concord fourth graders.

    "Seeing the kids come back to Concord to give back to their community is the ultimate reward for me," said Zavala. These students are making a meaningful contribution to our community. They are realizing the vision of international education—to make the world a better place."

    The group includes both native speakers and Spanish learners. The elementary students are part of Concord's Spanish Dual Language Immersion program in which students are educated in two languages and graduate from high school bilingual and bi-literate. Concord and Chief Sealth are two of 10 international schools in Seattle.

    The high school students hop on a Metro bus that delivers them from Chief Sealth to Concord during their advisory class (homeroom) to teach lesson plans they have design and developed.

    After the Chief Sealth students have started back to their school for lunch, Delavigne shares with her class the good news that the next semesters' Global Leadership students will come back to their class for three more sessions during the spring.

    The Global Leadership course’s elements of service learning and student leaders sends a powerful message. It empowers high school students to become role models. It demonstrates to these student that their teachers trust them, they have knowledge worth sharing and they can make a positive difference in their communities. For the elementary students, the program presents peers as teachers who may have similar experiences and concerns; and who can offer an authentic social affirmation and push them to reach further.

    The partnership between Concord and Chief Sealth’s Global Leadership classes is one example of the efforts happening in Seattle Public Schools to foster school communities where all students feel comfortable and successful.

    Read more about Chief Sealth International High School

    Read more about Concord International Elementary School

    Read more about international education at Seattle Public Schools