Heritage Education Update: August 2015
A select group of fifteen ELL (English Language Learning) Salem High School students participated in a unique summer literacy program called Salem at SEA (Salem Summer English Language Learning Academy). Guided by three Salem High School teachers, and with the support of Salem State University, LEAP for Education, Essex Heritage and other community partners, the summer institute focused on the theme Movers, Shakers, and Change Makers.
Now in its third year, Salem at SEA aims to increase English language literacy and fluency among participants by engaging them in a service learning project in their community. This year, students were tasked with becoming “change-makers” by learning about effective change in Salem historically and then researching and impacting a contemporary problem in Salem. They heard from several community partners including Essex Heritage, LEAP for Education, mayor of Salem, Kim Driscoll, and president of Salem State University, Patricia Meservey. Using this information as well as data from surveys and interviews within the immigrant community, students identified a common problem across organizations in Salem: the lack of understanding and awareness between the immigrant and non-immigrant members of Salem. They proposed hosting a public Community Day as a solution.
The Community Day, held at the House of the Seven Gables, was a big success with students showcasing work they had done to build bridges across the divide between immigrants and non-immigrants in Salem. Students translated guides to the city, created slide shows about the problems and solutions they investigated, and screened a film about their neighborhood, among other projects. Please see a Salem News article to learn more about this event.