School to School Exchanges
A Little History First
The CSCA-Gondar Council’s current School to School Exchange Project has evolved over a period of 4+ years, dating from as early as 2017 to 2021. Even before these years, the Gondar Council has had a long-term working partnership with Link Ethiopia, a local NGO based in Gondar with headquarters in London, becoming instrumental in carrying out the mission of the Gondar Council, especially as it relates to education and literacy. In 2016, Link Ethiopia merged with the KinduTrust , taking on a new name, Together We Learn, integrating their respective efforts of residential and child sponsorships and educational literacy and teacher training across the region.
5th grade students at Corvallis’ Leticia Carson Elementary School (formally Wilson Elementary) created illustrations for several bi-lingual early-childhood reading booklets, published by Open Heart Big Dreams, Inc. In 2019, these booklets would be distributed to the teachers and their respective kindergarten students in the rural village of Walaj, outside Gondar.
Bilingual reading books
In early 2019, the Gondar Council joined teachers and students at Leticia Carson Elementary School in a Family Read Night. A wall display was created along with the readings from the various books providing Ethiopian cultural information, pictures and traditional food tastings.
Displaying students’ illustrations used in Open Hearts Big Dreams books
Displaying Ethiopian culture
Tasting Ethiopian foods
A delegation of Gondar Council members including two Leticia Elementary School educators and one student traveled to Gondar, exchanging the early childhood readers, friendship bracelets, logo T-shirts (with former name of school) and a picture book of their school with the students and staff at Walaj Elementary School, Gondar. This event established the first informal school-to-school relationship, and a pathway to formally creating future school-to-school exchanges, as will be explained below.
Delegation to Ethiopia
A book about Leticia Carson students given to Gondar
Sharing friendship bracelets
Gondar students wearing Wilson school logo shirts
Our Current School-to-School Exchanges
At the start of 2022-2023 school year, two Corvallis schools, Leticia Carson and Franklin Elementary Schools have exchanged school profiles with their respective schools, Atse Bekafa and Meseret Elementary School in Gondar. Through Together We Learn, our Gondar partner, teachers are supplied with resources about the history and culture of Ethiopia. Our Sister School Coordinator has done presentations at both schools introducing the students to Gondar, including a taste of Ethiopian food.
Both Leticia Carson and Franklin Schools have received the ‘Shared Learning Activity’ from their partner schools in Gondar. These “shared learning activities” included written descriptions and drawings of their favorite traditional games. The Corvallis students are now working to send descriptions of their favorite traditional games.
Corvallis’ Leticia Carson Elementary and Gondar’s Atse Bekafa Elementary School
In the Spring of 2022, Leticia Carson’s 3rd grade class exchanged a “Shared Learning Activity” with students at Atse Bakafa School in Gondar. In January 2023, three fourth grade classes at Leticia Carson learned about Gondar and Ethiopian culture, including a taste of traditional food, before reading the “Shared Learning Activity” sent to them from Atse Bakafa School in Gondar.
Busy at a shared learning activity
Learning about Ethiopa
Tasting Ethiopian foods
A Gondar student’s drawing
Franklin Elementary School and Meseret Elementary School
Franklin’s Elementary School ‘s third grade class was excited to receive letters and pictures from Meseret Elementary School in Gondar, and are busy creating their reply. Shown here is the envelope of students’ exchanges from Gondar to Corvallis. They have also collected recyclable cans and bottles as part of the ongoing fundraising effort, “Bottle Drop Give.”
Student letters from Gondar
Envelope with Gondar students’ learning activities
Bottles collected by students
Corvallis’ Waldorf School and Bridge Magdalena Academy in Gondar
This is a new project in the school to school exchange program with one of our long-term partners in Gondar, Ethiopia, Bridge of Hope. Corvallis’ Waldorf School 4th grade students have exchanged letters with the 4th grade students at Bridge Magdalena Academy. They are working on completing a second exchange. Bridge of Hope is an orphanage with its own school. Many of the Magdalena students have been orphaned due to diseases of parents, to poverty, and/or economic conditions.