Community Walks--Bridging Student & Teacher Communities
Community Walks offer an opportunity for educators to develop deeper connections to and understanding of their refugee students.
Teachers and students at a potluck at the Yemeni mosque in Oakland, CA
EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA
To better connect with our diverse newcomer student communities, each year for the past five years, Oakland International High School offers “Community Walk” Professional Development for teachers and staff. Designed by parents, students and community leaders, groups of OIHS teachers and staff split into groups to visit various student communities where they are shown important landmarks and cultural centers; meet with community leaders, advocates and/or support people; and meet with families (in either homes or community centers) to discuss families’ questions, concerns and hopes for their students and the school. These professional development sessions educate teachers about students’ backgrounds, challenges, community and cultural assets, and the educational concerns of OIHS diverse newcomer students and families. They also serve to immerse teachers in the home environments of their students, and give students and family members the opportunity to serve as leaders, inverting roles such that our teachers become the students, and our students and families become the teachers.
We hold Community Walks in Oakland, California. However, this intervention could be replicated anywhere--from refugee camps to other resettlement locations to Urban refugee settings. Beneficiaries include Refugee students, family members, community leaders, education leaders, school staff.
Talk to communities and community leaders, and have them do a mapping project: what is important for outsiders to understand about their communities? What are their strengths/assets, and what are their challenges as a refugee community? What locations
SKILL SHARE (optional)
We can share our Community Walk model, how it has supported our community, and our planning structure
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF
Oakland International High School is a public school in Oakland, California serving 400 immigrant students--28% of whom are refugees.
IS THIS AN IDEA THAT YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION WOULD LIKE TO TAKE FORWARD?
Yes, I have implementation capacity and am interested in and able to make this idea real in my community.