We often share with others that Cliff Valley School is our model partner school. They have been since the beginning. We define this not only by the fiscal support we receive from their community, but for the collaboration between CIH and across disciplines in their school, previous Board representation, and mostly the unique engagement of their students. We have always partnered both with their art and outdoor classroom teachers, and previously also with music classes. This has been a great balance for our humanities and environmental focus, and allotted more time for deeper connections.
The students here model a level of respect for each other, although probably the most diverse student class populations we work with, that all student bodies- and the world- could aspire to. Like all kids, some are outspoken, while some are shy. Others are artistic, while some are more academically inclined. The smartest kid is seen as “the encyclopedia” and they refer to him for questions, they don’t ostracize him as a “know-it-all .” Most major religions are represented, and they can speak openly about their beliefs- and celebrate them- as they did in conversations in the fall when we looked at Celebrations & Traditions cross-culturally. When we look to archive art from exchanges, this school always leads the pack in what we archive in their creative expressions. Kathy Peters is a talented art teacher who evokes the artist in every student.
These students have as much heart as they do brains or creativity. When they first reconnected in the fall, they went immediately to brainstorming ways to help improve the lives of their friends in Ghana. They are great at brainstorming collectively, providing feedback, pros and cons. They started on a grand scale thinking about solar power. A book drive was the final group more practical consensus. The books have arrived in Ghana and we are awaiting word of delivery to EP Primary and RC Mixed Primary in Ho-Bankoe, Volta Region.
“How can we stay connected?” is always the question for the older students aging out of programming, or those departing to another school. We received two emails the day the 5th graders reconnected. Lily wanted to continue to communicate with her friend, even in the summer. Zoey is moving on to another school, and wondered if she could keep her connection, through her friends at CV. Students from this school lobbied, successfully, years ago for us to follow them. We are touched by their love of Children Inspiring Hope. We too look forward to staying connected!