By The Milwaukee Times Weekly
Students from 13 MPS schools took charge of the UWM Panther Arena on April 11 to share their knowledge of countries across the globe. Student displays included photos, maps, and important facts about each country and culture. Projects dug deep to explore the strengths and challenges of each nation and the role each country plays in its region or continent. The world fair was the culmination of the year’s United Nations Schools of International Learning (UNSIL) program, which is implemented in 13 MPS schools.
The highlight of the day was a series of student performances that included African drumming, traditional songs, and a multicultural fashion show. Students had the chance to show pride in their roots by wearing traditional dress from their cultures. Schools in the UNSIL program serve students from diverse nationalities, languages, and cultures. Students at these 13 schools speak 35 different languages.
Through the UNSIL curriculum, elementary and middle school students are researching and learning about countries and world issues. The program promotes cultural awareness and develops skills needed in a global setting. Each year of the program expands upon the previous year’s work and moves students along a spectrum from studying to analyzing to taking action.
• Grade 4 – Research on countries
• Grade 5 – Technology project on the organizations and committees of the UN
• Grade 6 – Global sustainability goals position paper
• Grade 7 – Public service announcements on the UN Agencies and priority goals
• Grade 8 – Service learning project
At a time when immigration is a sensitive topic, a $100,000 grant through the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Annette J. Roberts & Joan R. Robertson Fund for World Peace, World Law, and Peace Education, secured by the Milwaukee Public Schools Foundation, has helped create and support the United Nations Schools of International Learning curriculum in thirteen MPS schools: Academy of Accelerated Learning, Bethune Academy, Burbank School, Garland School, Humboldt Park School, Milwaukee Academy of Chinese Language, Parkview School, Milwaukee German Immersion, Story School, Gilbert Stuart School, Victory Italian Immersion School, U.S. Grant School, and Zablocki School. MPS expanded programming this year to include 4th through 8th grade students. When first instituted in MPS schools in 2016, the UNSIL program was offered in grades 4 and 6 at nine schools.
This article originally appeared in the Milwaukee Times Weekly.