Menominee Catholic school unveils new program focusing on global education

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MENOMINEE-– Saint John Paul II Catholic Academy has unveiled a new program for its students that has rebranded the school as a private school with a focus on global education.

Saint John Paul II Academy (JPII) has partnered with International School-to-School Experience (ISSE) to implement a unique international program for middle school students that provides for the exchange of thoughts and ideas through face-to-face contact with children from other countries around the world. It is an innovative approach for schools that realize the importance of international experience in contemporary, high-quality student education.

“Only by our children deeply learning about our global neighbors and developing relationships can we hope to truly thrive together into the future on this finite world we call our own,” according to Michael Muhs, Principal at Saint John Paul II Catholic Academy.

Children of all backgrounds from schools throughout the world participate in the International School to School Experience (ISSE) program. Within the program, each year a delegation of eight to ten junior high student ambassadors (and one to two adult chaperons) from another country’s member school takes turns visiting JPII academy in Menominee, Michigan. Each child from that delegation will live with a host family with a child of similar age and will go to school as a guest student.

The incoming delegation of students will visit each classroom during their stay and describe their local culture, language, and favorite things. Later in the school year, those students and their families will return the favor by hosting a delegation of JPII students for approximately three weeks. The delegation from Menominee will travel to the country of the visiting delegation and represent the school, the community, and in a real sense, the nation to the host school community.

Upon their return, students will share a presentation of their exchange experience with the school community. Relationships formed through firsthand experience shape the understanding of others in unique and meaningful ways and can provide students and families touched by the exchange a great deal of global understanding and context for their future personal and professional endeavors.

The first exchange is now, May 11-26, 2019. JPII will be hosting students from Mexico for a little over two weeks while they completely immerse themselves in American education. Starting in the 2019/2020 school year, not only will JPII be the host to students from Costa Rica, but JPII will also be sending some of its very own middle school students overseas for up to three weeks.

Students interested in travelling to Costa Rica next year will be given several opportunities to fundraise the cost of their trip starting this summer to ensure that any students interested in travelling are given a fair chance at the experience. JPII Global Education approach will also bring college-aged international students who are studying at the UW-Green Bay Marinette Campus to JPII to present about their countries to students throughout the school year. The goal of these meetings is to spark interest in JPII students regarding international knowledge as well as encourage kids to learn more about other countries. Moreover, teachers at JPII will highlight lessons with international components aided by geography games, maps and other material to expand students curiosity in other cultures. 

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