Monday, June 27, 2011

The transformation from drawing to reality

Hello teachers,
For everyone who has worked on the Tierra del Ninos project, I wanted to send you a quick update and some pictures from Aima Molinari, who has formally transferred the leadership of the project to a teacher at the Manco Inca school. Aima is now dedicating her volunteer time to a new daycare center in Ollantaytambo, which World Leadership School is also now supporting. I’m excited by the fact that a local teacher has taken on Tierra del Ninos and that it will continue inside of Manco Inca.

The first few pictures are the current state of the Tierra del Nino project – the last few are of the new green areas at the school, which were also inspired by the Tierra del Nino.. Here’s what she says – see original Spanish version below.

THANK YOU for all your work on this project and good luck finishing the school year. I am also copying Joaquin and Aima on this email, if you want to communicate with them directly.


“Tierra del Ninos at the Manco Inca school is in good hands . . . and being led by the right people. During the recent vacations, I was able to send the most active and involved teacher from Manco Inca to the annual ANIA (Asociación para la niñez y su medio ambiente) training seminar in Ica. Peru (this is the same training that I went to and which inspired me). Of course, she returned very motivated and with all the material and with lots of eagerness to work with her class of 30 kids. She is also going to speak with the other teachers and try to involve the director. She is a teacher who has worked at Manco Inca for more than 15 years and has a lot of influence. This year, ANIA will probably do another training in Cusco and this teacher and I are meeting to review her work plan for the coming year. I am working to support her but in the future I want her to be the principal voice for this project. The kids miss me so I go every week to meet with them, for now. Sometimes I get frustrated when I think about the fact that the Tierra del Ninos is completely open to intruders, who occasionally damage a plant or steal something. Other times I worry that the complex has become dirty and has to be cleaned . . . but then I remember that every problem has a solution, that this teacher is really on board and eager to school and that the school – by its own initiative – has created three more green areas in the school. One teacher showed me, very proudly, how the school has even planted fruit trees. The kids from the Tierra del Ninos club want to meet always and carry in their hearts care, conscience and happiness.

Aima Molinari.

Tierra de Niños en la escuela Manco Inca está en buenas manos…y en las manos en las que debería estar. En estas vacaciones pude hacer el esfuerzo de enviar a la profesora más activa y participativa al curso de capacitación que Ania brinda cada año en Ica (al curso que yo fui). Por supuesto ella regresó muy motivada y con todo el material y las ganas de trabajar con su clase de 30 niños. Además piensa hablar con otros profesores e involucrar un poco más al director. Es una profesora que trabaja ahí hace 15 años y es muy influyente. Este año es probable que se dicte otro curso de capacitación por primera vez en Cusco. Estamos reuniéndonos para ver su plan de trabajo. Yo me dedico a asistirla por ahora pero quiero que más adelante se sienta la promotora principal de la escuela. Las niñas me extrañan así que voy una vez por semana a reunirme con ellas, por ahora. A veces me desmoralizo pensando que falta seguridad en la Tini, o otra vez, dañaron una planta, o se robaron algo, o está sucia y hay que limpiarla…pero luego recuerdo que todo tiene solución, que la profesora está realmente convencida y tiene ganas de trabajar voluntariamente, que la escuela, por iniciativa propia ha creado 3 áreas verdes más en toda la escuela, que otro profesor me ha enseñado orgulloso como ha plantado frutales con sus alumnos y que los niños que han formado el grupo de Tierra de Niños siguen queriendo que nos reunamos siempre y que sobretodo llevan en su corazón cariño , conciencia y alegría.
Aima Molinari

Ross Wehner, Executive Director, World Leadership School
2135 Gilpin Street
Denver, CO 80205
o: 303-679-3412, f: 303-945-2229, toll-free: 1-888-831-8109,

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Climate change curriculum

“In 2009, Will Steger Foundation created a new curriculum for high school students that focuses on global climate solutions, called Citizen Climate. This curriculum emphasizes civic engagement and helps teachers and students understand the critical and complex climate solutions being discussed on the national and international stage. It also allows students to formulate statements about what they would like to see happen in climate policy and how these policies and actions can be replicated in their states and local communities. These lesson plans build on the Will Steger Foundation’s original six lesson plans on the basics of global warming. The new lessons cover the carbon cycle, target levels for atmospheric levels of greenhouse gasses, cap and trade, carbon tax, new technologies, concerns of developed and developing countries, and how to formulate position statements.”

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Next Steps: Sustainable Global Parnerships Proposal

June 19, 2009

Matt Pena
Dean of Students
Casady School

Dear Matt:

Great to speak with you and Kari on Friday and I’m very glad the trip was successful. You and your kids did a wonderful job and our instructors in Peru, and our staff in Denver, have really enjoyed working with Casady School.

As discussed, a major focus of World Leadership School this coming year will be to help eight of our U.S. school partners make the transition from service learning trips to what we are calling Global Partnerships. This is the next stage in our strategy to help schools develop truly innovative global education programs.

On our service learning trips, students and faculty engage with a global issue, develop leadership awareness, and build important relationships in an overseas community. A Global Partnership continues the momentum of a trip and extends it into a year-round distance learning exchange between classrooms in different parts of the world.

Each Global Partnership will include regular interactions between two classrooms, one in the U.S. and the other in the overseas community; a sustained study of a global issue; and ongoing service projects, both abroad and perhaps in the U.S. as well. Ideas of leadership will be integrated, where appropriate.

These partnerships are designed to support and mesh with existing curriculum at each school. Our hope is that these partnerships will allow teachers to do a better job teaching Spanish, biology, environmental sciences, human geography, world history and other subjects.

We have had some early success with Global Partnerships at World Leadership School. This year, students from St. John’s Episcopal, a K-8 school in Olney, Md., are studying environmental sciences through a sustained dialogue on climate change with students in Belize.

After months of class-to-class contact, and student-led fundraising, a group of 14 students and three faculty from St. John’s arrived in Belize earlier this month. They brought five laptops and $2,000 in donations to set up a computer lab in Belize’s La Democracia elementary school. This lab will be used in the future to share information via class-to-class video conferencing, wikis, blogs, slideshows linked to voice threads, and other technologies. Here is their ongoing blog:

These global partnerships create a lot of positive change for our school partners in lesser-developed countries. They are also an extremely cost-effective way for U.S. schools to:
· Fulfill school mission by offering life-changing global education programs;
· Blend global issues, service learning and leadership into the school curriculum;
· Have a huge and positive impact on school partners in lesser-developed nations;
· Offer a real-world context for applying Web 2.0 technologies;
· Stand out in a rapidly changing global education market.

We know these types of global partnerships are hard for schools to launch without initial support and help. Building and sustaining an overseas relationship takes a lot of time and energy, and the responsibility usually falls upon teachers who are already overscheduled with competing priorities. Even in the best cases, these relationships can fizzle out for no apparent reason. In addition, figuring out which technology to use and how to fit the interactions into pre-established curriculum presents further challenges. Yet there’s no question that these class-to-class global partnerships, as challenging as they initially are, will be a key component of global education in the future.

For these reasons, World Leadership School is launching a Global Partnerships program. We will work with no more than eight schools during the 2009 - 2010 school year.

Requirements. To participate in the program, we require that schools:
· Have a demonstrated commitment to integrate global issues, service learning and leadership into their school culture and curriculum;
· Have a World Leadership School trip scheduled for the upcoming summer or spring;
· Assign 2 faculty members who are committed, and have the time, to work with us on developing a global partnership in their classroom. Their work responsibilities to World Leadership School should be written into their contract and they should be willing to travel with students in the spring or summer. We cannot succeed without committed faculty.

Goals. The program goals are two-fold:
· Two Global Partnerships. We will work closely with two faculty members from your school to design curriculum, manage the technology and facilitate the relationships involved in the launching of two new global partnerships at your school. At least one of these global partnerships will be with a World Leadership School site overseas; the other we can help your faculty build from scratch, or we can connect with a school at another World Leadership School location.
· Faculty Training. Apart from the two faculty we work with, we want to help your entire faculty and administration understand how to build and maintain overseas distance learning relationships; implement a new array of Web 2.0 tools in the classroom; and integrate global issues, service, and leadership into the classroom. The hope is that other faculty will see the success of Global Partnerships at your school and, armed with knowledge and a few basic tools, be inspired to explore their own in-class service programs or overseas partnerships.

Services Provided. We will begin by visiting your school to conduct a Faculty Training Seminar, to be designed in accordance with your school’s needs. During this half- or full-day seminar, we will
· Present the research and new trends behind global education partnerships;
· Highlight the most successful global education projects in the United States, emphasizing what works and why;
· Showcase new video conference tools and other Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis, widgets, Nings, Google Earth, TeacherTube, etc.;
· Find curricular tie-ins and explore ways to weave global issues, service and overseas partnerships into the existing curriculum;
· Facilitate hands-on activities and brainstorm possible projects for each participant, including an action plan for future work;
· Present the World Leadership School approach to teaching leadership, including curriculum guides;
· Brainstorm how to communicate your partnership’s success to parents and the larger community;

Throughout the school year, we will work closely with the faculty team assigned to launch the two Global Partnerships. The first meeting will be in-person and subsequent meetings will be via video conference. These meetings will address the following areas:
· Needs assessment;
· Strategic planning;
· Curricular design;
· Implementation and design of select Web 2.0 tools;
· Scheduling and coordination;
· Troubleshooting, such as the development of new overseas relationships or partnerships if necessary;
· Gathering student feedback and results;

We will provide on-site coordination and classroom facilitation for global partnerships offered in World Leadership School sites in Costa Rica, Belize, Peru, Guadeloupe and Kenya.

Our goal is to have success with every global partnership we start for schools this coming school year, but this may not be achievable. Some partnerships will fail for reasons beyond our control, including lack of commitment from overseas schools in countries where World Leadership School does not operate. In this case, we will do everything we can to re-design the partnership to make it successful.

Communicating the success of these programs is critical. Once the program is underway, we are glad to work with your development or communication office to help explain these partnerships, and why they are important, to your larger school community.

We will also provide feedback directly to school leadership on the progress made in establishing the global partnerships and what adjustments need to be made to ensure success.

Cost. The total cost to participate in the Global Partnerships program for the 2009-2010 school year is $6,250. Half of the fee, or $3,125, is payable on September 1, and the remainder is due January 1. This price is all-inclusive. World Leadership School will not bill any additional expenses for travel, accommodations, meals, communication, etc. Each school is responsible for providing basic computer equipment (laptop with web cam, microphone, and projector/Smartboard) in the assigned “global partnership” classrooms.

Staff. This effort will be headed by Alecia Berman-Dry, upcoming Global Partnerships Director for World Leadership School. As Technology Coordinator for St. John’s Episcopal, Alecia continues to develop what is to date World Leadership School’s most successful and sophisticated global partnership. This new position, which she starts July 2009, will allow Alecia to use her experience and knowledge to help other schools roll out similar programs. For more information on Alecia, see below.

I will also devote much of my time this coming year to working with Alecia and our partner schools on this new and exciting program.


Ross Wehner
Executive Director
World Leadership School

Alecia Berman-Dry, Global Partnerships Director, is an experienced speaker and workshop leader who has worked in environments as varied as Washington, D.C. law offices, church basements and college classrooms. Along the way, she has helped school administrators, teachers, and parents make informed decisions about internet safety, social networking, website development, the use of computer programming to teach math, Web 2.0 tools and global education. Her summer teacher training sessions, "World Village Training," are her favorite hands-on workshops to present. Alecia is passionate about helping teachers establish and maintain their own meaningful classroom partnerships both nationally and internationally.

She currently teaches technology at St. John's Episcopal School, a K-8 Independent School just outside of Washington, D.C. Previously Alecia served as St. John’s Technology Coordinator for 8 years. She is a Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund Scholar, as well as the 2006 Best White Paper award winner at MICCA, Maryland’s annual conference for educational technology. Alecia also served as the Technology Chair of the AIMS (Association of Independent Maryland Schools) Academic Advisory Committee for two years.

Alecia received an M.A. in Liberal Studies from Loyola College in Maryland in 2009. Her field of research focused on social networking communities, such as Facebook and Club Penguin, and how these communities affect identity development in adolescents. You can read her blog, entitled Ed Tech Axis, at

Ollantaytambo Tini 2009 Project

Several Casady students spent the first days of their summer vacation in Peru--not on a sightseeing venture but on a mission to help World Leadership School and the children of Ollantaytambo.

During their journey, the students moved a giant debris-choked hill of dirt and spread it around the new Children’s Land in Ollantaytambo, Peru. They also built a fence around the play area, painted the fence and put doors and windows in the thatched meeting hut built by the Shady Side students this spring.

"I really enjoyed getting to know some of you over the last few months and I want you to know that the students and Casady faculty who went on this trip did a really fabulous job," said Ross Wehner, executive director of the Denver-based World Leadership School.

The work is part of an ongoing project to convert a trash dump into a “Children’s Land.” This experiential learning area is part of an after-school program funded by World Leadership School that helps children in Ollantaytambo become stewards of their environment. Here’s the blog in Spanish from the Children’s Land: and Casady’s blog (in Spanish):

World Leadership School programs examine different global issues but all share the same three basic goals:

Learn to draw connections around global issues
Develop confidence to create positive change
Embark on a path of self awareness and leadership
For more information, visit its website at

Monday, April 13, 2009

Meeting Cindy Beams

I took a few hours to work during my b-day trip to Boston. I felt guilty leaving my family, but the gift of meeting a person like Cindy Beams is not something one gets often.

On Friday, Cindy was kind and changed plans to meet at Harvard Square to a meeting at the Sheraton Hotel where I was staying. It was like we had known each other for ever. We had in commom a passion for Global Education service for our schools and Ollanta's Land of Children. After a short period in which we shared our personal histories and sharing a bit of how the programs got started, we had to cut the meeting short because Cindy had a meeting that day. Cindy gave the book, she had inspired the kids from Groton to write about their home stay and work in Ollanta. Seeing that book was rewarding and inspiring. I will consult with the teachers going this year, but a requirement for such a book to be produced a few weeks upon return from Ollanta should be somethig we need to consider, not only as a reflecting tool, but as a marketing tool for future trips.

The second day, Cindy and I met for breakfast and we worked for a couple of hours sharing resources and stories. Three things I will follow-up:

1. Attempt to have a phone meeting with the teachers who went to Ollanta last year for Kari and Matt to have some background of how to handle the homestay from the experience the Groton group had last year.

2. Ask student to get the Spanish booklet provided by Cindy and teach that curriculum to the children in Ollanta. The kids from Groton will do the same.

3. Get Cindy to talk to the kids and parents going this year and answer questions at a meeting. Have her explain to the group the value of creating a bilingual picture book of their group adventure trying to preserve Andean culture through economic development through service tourism.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

Kennedy and Jason WLS facilitators

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Ross sent message that the WLS facilitators for the 2009 trip this year will be Kennedy and Jason Hunter. Kennedy is a former Lakeside School graduate who has been coordinating the host family stay for US Schools in Ollantaytambo for at least two years. The 2008 group met Kennedy at the weaving site visit. She was an intern for the Catcco Museum. Kennedy returned to Ollantaytambo upon graduation from Georgetown University. She planned to stay 6 months. In 2009 she will have spent three summers in Ollantaytambo.

The 2008 team met Jason Hunter in Cuzco as he prepared to facilitate the stay of the Landon School in a small town, Chilka, between Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes.