All Children’s Guild Alliance’s schools are currently closed and providing distance learning for students participating in summer school/ESY programming. Our headquarters and conference center are currently closed. Our staff is working remotely and maintaining regular operating hours. Read More

All Children’s Guild Alliance’s schools are currently closed and providing distance learning for students participating in summer school/ESY programming. Our headquarters and conference center are currently closed. Our staff is working remotely and maintaining regular operating hours. Read More

Select Page

Recently, second-grade teachers from Monarch Academy Glen Burnie were inspired to travel to Ethiopia. Their interest in Ethiopia was sparked after author Jane Kurtz led a workshop for students on how to write children’s books. Ms. Kurtz shared experiences from her childhood in Ethiopia and her work with Ethiopia Reads and Open Hearts Big Dreams, two organizations that partner to provide books to children in Ethiopia. Second-grade teachers, Ms. Legambi, Sonja Bolotin and Molly Malloy, along with art teacher Sam Green, traveled to Ethiopia at the end of the school year. Now, when second-graders at Monarch Academy Glen Burnie study school communities, their teachers will use pictures from their trip and tell personal stories about the schools they visited and the people they met. “It was an extremely humbling experience to see the challenges students in Ethiopia face,” says Ms. Bolotin. She sees opportunities to grow empathy in her students and looks forward to conveying the Ethiopian students’ hunger for education. “It will have a profound effect when we share these experiences.”

Monarch Academy develops globally-minded students through a curriculum infused with diversity and authentic learning experiences. “We believe students should become ethical people who affect the world positively,” says Kim Jakovics, principal of Monarch Academy Glen Burnie. “It’s very much a part of our curriculum pedagogy to understand other cultures and places.”

This year, second-grade teachers from her school were inspired to travel to Ethiopia following an Expeditionary Learning journey that incorporated the country’s culture, language and history. Their interest in Ethiopia was sparked by a visit from award-winning author Jane Kurtz,  who led a workshop for students on how to write children’s books. Ms. Kurtz shared experiences from her childhood in Ethiopia and her work with Ethiopia Reads and Open Hearts Big Dreams, two organizations that partner to provide books to children in Ethiopia. 

The second graders were studying pollinators the week of the workshop, so their teachers suggested they write a book about the importance of bee pollination for agriculture in Ethiopia. “From school communities to fossils, the teachers found connections between Ethiopia and what the second graders were studying,” says art teacher Sam Green. She collaborated with the teachers to have the students illustrate the book.

“We worked all year on the book,” says second-grade teacher Jenna Legambi. Their efforts paid off. The book is being published and distributed by Open Hearts Big Dreams to children in Ethiopia, and it will also be available on Amazon. 

Moved by their dedication, Ms. Kurtz encouraged the teachers to visit Ethiopia and see firsthand the things they had been teaching their students. Through grants and support from their students and school, all of the second-grade teachers, Ms. Legambi, Sonja Bolotin and Molly Malloy, along with art teacher Sam Green, traveled to Ethiopia at the end of the school year.

Now, when second-graders at Monarch Academy Glen Burnie study school communities, their teachers will use pictures from their trip and tell personal stories about the schools they visited and the people they met. “It was an extremely humbling experience to see the challenges students in Ethiopia face,” says Ms. Bolotin. She sees opportunities to grow empathy in her students and looks forward to conveying the Ethiopian students’ hunger for education. “It will have a profound effect when we share these experiences.”