Fostering a Welcoming Spirit in Your School Community

By
Kristin Lewis

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Hi teachers,

I love getting to speak with people who are doing amazing work. And lucky for me, I get to do that a lot! That's why I was especially thrilled to get a chance to interview Rachel Peric, the Deputy Director of Welcoming America, an organization that works with communities to help make immigrants feel welcomed in their adopted hometowns.

I spoke to Rachel while I was doing research for my article “From War to America.” This nonfiction feature in the September issue of Scope is about two incredible brothers, Cedric and Francois, and their journey as refugees from Syria to America. Cedric and Francois felt very welcomed by their new community and school in Nutley, New Jersey. And that's exactly the kind of experience that Rachel would like all newcomers to have. As Rachel told me:

"The idea of being welcoming is about having a culture where everyone feels appreciated and valued because that's what enables us to bring our best selves."

Celebrate Welcoming Week at Your School.

From September 15-24, Welcoming America will celebrate Welcoming Week: a series of events that brings people together in a spirit of unity and provides opportunities for people to learn from each other. Last year, nearly 400 Welcoming Week events were held in cities, towns, and schools all over the country. Some 50,000 people participated by sharing family histories, doing art projects, organizing dinners, and much more.

Welcoming America has created a Welcoming Guide for Schools, which is full of activities and lesson plans, as well as an event toolkit with planning tips for putting together your own Welcoming Week event. Or go here to find events that are already being planned in your area.

We hope that you and your students will take part in this wonderful event. Use the hashtags #ScholasticScope and #WelcomingWeek and let us know how it goes!

Kristin

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