Education, From Inside and Outside

Nikitha GraceTwo years ago, while I was Head of School at James River Day School, I paid a visit to a Montessori school out in Bedford County, Virginia. While I was visiting the school, I learned about an international non-profit organization that provides many educational and leadership trainings globally, including one of its key programs called LivingSideBySide®. I was intrigued to learn about their successful pilot program in Kyrgyzstan, an area struggling with interethnic tension. As I learned more about the program, I was struck by how appropriate it would be for American teachers and students. It trains teachers in communication, dialogue, self-awareness, and community engagement skills; the teachers then train their students. The program builds capacity in the entire school community!

As a school administrator, I was enthusiastic to learn about a professional development program designed to strengthen skills for both teachers and students. As I reviewed the curriculum, I got very excited. As a teacher and administrator with 30 years’ experience, I had never seen such a thoughtful program. Now that I have retired from James River Day School, I am volunteering for Legacy International, the nonprofit organization that developed and offers the LivingSideBySide® training. The events in Charlottesville, Virginia in August of 2017 make it clear that the United States needs peace building programs! I am dedicated to helping American teens learn effective social and emotional skills, and LSBS offers excellent training to develop these skills, extending and expanding them into leadership and community engagement activities.

My intention is to write a monthly blog this year, based on my knowledge of the specific needs in schools at certain times of the year, where the LSBS training would provide immediate and effective support for teachers and their students. Look for the next installment of Education, From Inside and Outside, in October on how LSBS can help teachers build strong relationships with students and parents!

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