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Pittsburgh Parenting Blog by Sewickley Academy

Sewickley Academy's Private School Blog

The Price of Sugar

Sewickley Academy senior Amanda Nocera has headed up a project called Project Batey: Giving Young Dominicans a Future. She launched the project after her visits to the Dominican Republic, a tropical island-nation where tourists flock to pristine beaches; unaware that just a few miles away, thousands of dispossessed Haitians toil under armed guards on sugar cane plantations, called Bateyes.

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Topics: Global Studies

Haiti: One Year Later

In October 2011, I had the remarkable privilege to go to Haiti. This was through the generous gift given to me by Sewickley Academy through the Sculley Sabbatical Grant. It was an experience that changed my life and sank deep into my heart. You can read about my 2011 trip here.

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Topics: Faculty, Global Studies

Who Drives Buicks? Questions for a Host Family

Recently, as part of the Global Studies program, my family and I had the privilege of hosting one of the teachers from the Erasmus-Grasser-Gymnasium, the Academy’s exchange school in Munich, Germany.  While this year’s exchange marked the 34th year of the program, being a host family was new to us.

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Topics: Global Studies

How Poland Became Personal

In July, Middle School English teacher Jessica Hecht and students and teachers from all over the region traveled to Poland through the Classrooms Without Borders program. This is her story.

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Topics: Global Studies

An SA's Teacher Adventure in Tanzania

Grade 1 Teacher Jerilyn Scott escorted 35 teenagers from high schools all over the country who were traveling with Rustic Pathways. During the students’ week-long program, Jerilyn traveled throughout Tanzania. Below is the exciting description of her trip:

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Topics: Global Studies

It's a Small World for SA Traveling Faculty!

Grade 7 History Teacher Carla Garfield and School Counselor Lynn Sanborne literally bumped into each other on July 20 … in Dublin, Ireland! Both were on Sewickley Academy sponsored traveling initiatives, but didn’t realize they would be in Dublin at the same time. Carla was finishing up her Sculley Sabbatical trip, during which she visited the ancestral homes of George Washington and Robert E. Lee in the Cotswalds region of England and then spent a week visiting family (and her own ancestral lands) on the west coast of Ireland. Lynn was in Dublin chaperoning SA Global Studies students on the Irish Experience.

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Topics: Global Studies

6 Tips To Prepare Your Student for International Travel

international-travel-studentsWhile some of us are seasoned travelers, many parents often have concerns and questions when they decide to send their students on any trips, either sponsored by Sewickley Academyor independent of the school. Whether you have decided to send your child to Costa Rica, France, or Australia, you can make preparations in advance on your own.  Here are some basic tips:

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Topics: Global Studies

Can I Be Successful Learning a Second Language?

My connection with languages began early in my life.  As a child who immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba, I learned English by total immersion and was fluent and successful in school within nine months. I came during a time when bilingual education had not taken root and I consider it a blessing today that my circumstances forced me to face the difficulty of attending school with no language help whatsoever. It made me determined and helped me develop strategies that later on would help others learn English and Spanish as second languages. In my varied experience, there are two ideas that I fervently promote and believe: anyone who has learned a first language is also capable of successfully learning a second language, and secondly, as a high school Spanish teacher, I do not believe it is ever too late to develop pronunciation of a language at a high level or to do professional work abroad in that language.

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Topics: Global Studies

How Can I Support My Children's Foreign Language Learning?

“An educated American in the 21st century should be proficient in at least one foreign language, have studied at least one global issue or region in depth, and be knowledgeable of the geography and history of our country as well as other world regions.” ( Education for Global Leadership: The Importance of International Studies and Foreign Language Education, Committee for Economic Development, 2006.)

In an increasingly diverse community both within and beyond our borders, our children’s innate capacity and natural ability to acquire languages needs to be cultivated if an important education goal is to prepare them to successfully live and work in the global community of the 21st century.

Often parents ask how they can be involved in supporting their children’s learning.  This is especially important when it comes to the learning of another language.  Since using language is a social skill, learning may be greatly enhanced by practicing a new language in settings beyond the classroom.  For example:
  • Think about learning a new language along with your children.  This sends a wonderfully positive message that learning a language is important and worth doing, as well as providing additional time for enjoyable interactions at home.
  • Check out extra-curricular language learning programs, such as summer language camps, community school immersion weekends, or after-school programs.  These settings provide an opportunity to participate in a variety of enjoyable language activities in a relaxed environment.
  • Some families already speak a second language at home.  They are the lucky ones!  Your collaboration is needed to help maintain and expand your children’s home language skills.

Many schools in the US do not offer language instruction in preschool and elementary school or may only offer programs with minimal time allocations.  Parents can become effective advocates for new or improved programs by becoming informed.  One good resource is the National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL) website.  Start talking to other parents, teachers, and administrators about the importance of early language learning.

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Topics: Global Studies

Safe Passage

My summer adventure began with an invitation from Sewickley Academy alumna Megan McAdams ’04, coordinator of the English program at Safe Passage, to come to Guatemala. With personal goals like motivating all students to learn, and practicing differentiation strategies, I was ready to spend a month in Central America teaching students who are notmotivated to learn. Let me share my welcome into my high school classroom in Guatemala.

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Topics: Global Studies

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