Nearly all of mankind’s greatest achievements emerged from cross-cultural enlightenment. The Silk Road, for example, stood as a cultural bridge between Asia and Europe and for the belief that such cultural, technological, and philosophical exchange generated prosperity for all of humanity. This extraordinary route symbolized the axiomatic truth that global cooperation led to mankind’s prosperity. Today, America serves as a powerful reminder that the confluence and convergence of cultural currents creates enormous wealth and success. This miraculous multicultural country serves as a microcosm for the global community and a testament to our ability to invent, design, and concoct the various tools needed for mankind to progress.
We see the idea that global fluency and cooperation produces success in community-centered schools across the country. Community-centered schools epitomize the quest for global cooperation by drawing on their community to leverage the enormous potential at their disposal. Community-centered schools teach students using a panoply of curricula, teaching styles, and school foci. These schools support sustainable and resilient communities by increasing community participation and educating, nurturing, and growing future community leaders.
In Beaverton, Oregon, one school emulates these values in a remarkable way. Hope Chinese Charter School (HCCS) draws upon their community to create a remarkable learning environment. Their motto, “educating for global fluency”, speaks to their commitment to teaching not just the Chinese language, but the Chinese culture as well. Although, the majority of HCCS’s students come from non-Chinese speaking households, they develop into proficient Chinese speakers by the end of 6th grade. HCCS immerses students in the Chinese language and culture through reading ancient, classic, and modern literature as well as participating in numerous culinary and cultural traditions throughout the year. More than 120 community members and parents participate in educating the students through orchestrating events and sharing their own personal experiences at the various festivals they celebrate. Students build linguistic awareness by listening to the rhythms and tones of the Chinese language through dozens of distinct voices. Community members contribute more than 5000 hours of their time annually to make sure their school represents their culture authentically, and students and staff excel in all aspects of their day to day activities. Across the nation, state governments task charter schools with providing high-quality public education, but rarely fund them at the same level as other public options. While this challenge no doubt deters some from entering the education realm, schools like HCCS have used this challenge to garner support from their community and craft a unique culture and educational opportunity.
HCCS argues that children growing up in this community-centered environment develop into better thinkers, team players, and leaders and their stellar performance punctuates that stance.
Some community-centered charter schools integrate parent and community support to enrich their student’s education and provide them diverse cultural competencies that break through cultural barriers and build the social and emotional skills needed for interacting in a globalized world. Student see the lessons learned in school through the lens of the community and experience the value of their work by developing a deep respect for other cultures and the greater community around them. Parents and community members model positive behavior for students and teach them to give back to their community, which in turn enriches the lives of everyone. In a global work environment, adults present their ideas, listen to new ones, and synthesize information using complex cultural and historical structures to guide their thinking. America holds extraordinary potential to raise the future poets and planners of tomorrow and some schools are leveraging the most valuable resource we have: our community.
To learn more about Hope Chinese Charter School visit their website.