Empowering Students and Building Strong Communities

Empowering Students and Building Strong Communities
October 9, 2019

Daniel Aamot, an educator at Wellstone International High School, has been involved with World Savvy for the last five years. This past year, he led a team of 12th grade teachers in a robust partnership across all content areas — social studies, math, language arts, multilingual classes, and chemistry — and engaged his students in issue-based learning projects.

“I allow students to identify important issues in their lives and together with their classmates and my cheering on from the sidelines, they develop projects to address their concerns.”

World Savvy first started its partnership with Wellstone International High School during the 2013-2014 school year. Wellstone is made up of 100% English language learners, including immigrants and refugees from all corners of the world, primarily from the Horn of Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

“Most of my students have been through traumatic life experiences and are thrilled to have received the necessary assistance to come to Minnesota and to Wellstone…In the midst of ALL that they are trying to learn, they end up feeling they don’t have much to teach or share with others. I feel that over the many stages of their lives, they have developed a deficit-oriented understanding of themselves.”

However, Daniel notes that when he introduced the Global Competence Matrix, they discovered that their experiences in overcoming their many obstacles have in fact introduced them to concepts, values, and practices that highlight their evolving engagement as global citizens. This was a revolutionary experience for his students, and they soon discovered empowering connections through World Savvy’s Festival, Festival of Nations Mini-lessons, and this year’s Personal Identity collaboration project with students from the Fair School.

“For the last five years, World Savvy has been a critical partner in helping me provide students with creative and meaning-filled opportunities to explore their concerns and passions. For this, I am deeply grateful!”

As a part of the World Savvy Classrooms program, students research topics they are passionate about in their communities and the world and use World Savvy’s Knowledge-to-Action design process to develop solutions they can implement in their communities. This spring, one of Daniel’s student teams wanted to bring awareness to arranged and forced marriage, a topic that many of his students are concerned about in their community. They created a video documenting their research, data collection, and solution for our annual Pitchfest below:

“World Savvy has given us, as a staff and as a school community, the tools to be able to encourage discussion about difference and commonality, and about using that knowledge to build empathy for each other. Because of World Savvy, we are stronger, and we are equipped to better prepare students for their future.” 

– Aimee Fearing, former Wellstone principal and current executive director of K-12 academic programming for Minneapolis Public Schools

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