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Rowan-Salisbury teachers to study in Mexico this summer

Staff report

SALISBURY — Abby Covington, a fourth-grade math and social studies teacher at Millbridge Elementary School, and Zach Overcash, a math teacher at Carson High School, are the 2019 Blanche and Julian Robertson Family Foundation award recipients from Rowan-Salisbury Schools.  

The awards are dedicated to support Covington’s and Overcash’s participation in Go Global NC’s Global Teachers Mexico 2019 program. The teachers will participate in the program this summer as members of a delegation of 41 educators from across North Carolina.

“Our annual Global Teachers program provides North Carolina’s teachers with professional development they can use to develop global-ready students,“ said Nicholas Rau, director of education and training for Go Global NC. “Educators are immersed in new cultures and have new global experiences they can immediately incorporate into their classrooms.”

“In 2019, we will study Mexico because the country is intrinsically linked to North Carolina,” said Rau. “In addition to learning about the history, culture and environment of Mexico, the delegation will learn about the education system through school visits, lectures and discussions with Mexican educators. Our teachers will also build their capacity to recognize the benefits and positively meet the challenges of the changing demographics in North Carolina’s school districts.”

Go Global NC’s Global Teachers professional development program focuses on a different country each year. Countries selected have a significant impact in North Carolina and the world or can provide teachers with ideas or solutions that will be useful in their own classrooms, schools or districts. Delegates participate in domestic workshops, an immersion experience and a follow-up workshop.

Go Global NC is part of the University of North Carolina System.

The Mexico 2019 program will allow participants to:

• Gain insight into the country’s history, culture and physical environment.

• Identify the impact of cultural factors on student learning and achievement.

• Learn about water conservation efforts to protect Mexico’s drinking water supply.

• Build capacity to respond positively to the changing demographics in North Carolina’s school districts and identify the benefits of change for students.

• Collaborate to implement global perspectives in the classroom.

More than half of Latinos living in North Carolina cite Mexico as their country of origin, according to 2016 census figures. Mexico is North Carolina’s second-largest trading partner, according to NC’s Global Engagement Snapshot. Spanish is the most commonly taught second language in N.C. public schools.

“I’m very excited for Mr. Overcash to participate in Go Global NC’s Mexico program this summer because I believe this opportunity will not only impact him, but the students who find themselves sitting in his classroom next year,” said Angelo DelliSanti, principal of Carson High School. “Carson’s second-largest group of students are Hispanic students; therefore, giving one of our teachers an opportunity to learn more about Mexico’s culture and educational system, while also providing him with learning that can improve his pedagogy, can only mean great things for his students. What a tremendous opportunity.”

“This is a great opportunity for Mrs. Covington to explore a different culture and educational system,” said Jordan Baker, principal of Millbridge Elementary School.I am excited for her to bring back new global experiences, ideas and information to positively impact Millbridge Elementary students.”

Global Teachers delegates are prepared to share the when they return to North Carolina with knowledge and skills that will benefit the students in their classrooms.

Covington and Overcash said they are grateful to the Blanche and Julian Robertson Family Foundation for the opportunity that will allow them to help build global-ready students in Rowan County.

“I am excited to experience the culture of central Mexico,” said Overcash. “I am looking forward to working with and learning from teachers and students in Guanajuato.”

Guanajuato is one of Mexico’s 31 states.

“I am so thankful to be part of this program to Mexico this summer,” Covington said. “I cannot think of another time in our history that it would be more important to gain knowledge, mindfulness and empathy towards our closest neighboring country. I am excited to spend time with the students and families of Mexico, as well as immersing myself into the culture of their vastly diverse and beautiful country.”

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