• Nov. 17, 2023

    Fort Couch celebrates International Education Week

    African drumming and dancingFort Couch Middle School students celebrated International Education Week, Nov. 13-20, 2023. Organized by the world language teachers, each day included special guests who shared music, dancing, culture and crafts from around the world. World language teachers include Erin Lemon, French; Maria Marchionna, Spanish; Kate Sebastiao, Spanish; and Kristin Weaver, German.

    Students in seventh grade tried folk dances from Russia, Croatia, China and Latin America. Eighth grade students participated in dances from West Africa, Greece and Latin America.

    “During this week, students are exposed to cultures and languages that they may otherwise not encounter in their daily lives,” Ms. Marchionna said. “Learning about other cultures also allows students to meaningfully connect with one another.  After a lesson on Chinese greetings and culture from Lixia Kang, USCHS Chinese teacher, students were excited to be able to communicate with one of their peers from China.”

    New this year, Fort Couch students had the opportunity to learn about other cultures from their peers who have lived in other countries via a Virtual Show & Tell.

    “We are debuting the Virtual Show & Tell – a video that features 20 Fort Couch students sharing their experiences of living around the world,” Ms. Marchionna said. “In the video, students discuss what teens do for fun in their home countries, differences between school systems, and describe popular foods, holidays, and traditions.”

    While the students were enthusiastic about singing and dancing, the teachers hope that International Education Week helps to build intercultural understanding and respect.

    “We hope that the students gain a deeper understanding of other cultures beyond the walls of Fort Couch Middle School and Upper St. Clair Township,” Ms. Marchionna said. “We hope to provide students with opportunities to experience and learn about other cultures in a safe and respectful environment.”

    International Education Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education and is intended to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences.