This summer a delegation of five Carlos Rosario School teachers traveled to El Salvador on a ten-day, multi-town educational trip. The aim of the trip was to better understand the context and culture of one of the largest populations of Carlos Rosario School students: Salvadorans. For the 2013-14 school year 38% of Carlos Rosario School students were from El Salvador.
The trip was coordinated in partnership with Voices on the Border, a nonprofit organization that aides rural communities in El Salvador in the struggle for social and economic justice and sustainability, and included eight days packed full of school visits, meetings with community leaders and nonprofit organizations, and historical site tours. The teachers discussed issues ranging from gangs and immigration to education, tourism and local history. The trip also included three days of homestay, which all the teachers agreed was a highlight and an important part to being immersed in the culture. Teacher Vincent Scott said, “Before the trip I knew intellectually why some of our students come to the U.S. and are illiterate in their first language, but this trip made it more real. I got to see more of the context behind it.”
For the duration of the trip a driver took the group from site to site. Everyone was shocked to learn that both the driver and his wife, who had lived in Washington, DC years before, were alumni of the Carlos Rosario School.
Reflecting back on the trip everyone in the group commented on how resilient and full of hope the Salvadoran people are. “Even though there are so many difficulties and dangers to face in daily life and the problems seem to have no end, everyone we met seemed hopeful that the future would one day be better. And not only this but a lot of people are actively working to make this happen,” said Becky Shiring Professional Development Specialist/Instructional Coach.
Looking ahead to the future the hope is to plan other educational trips like this one to new countries in order to better understand the cultural backgrounds of the students at the Carlos Rosario School. “This trip inspired me to learn more about other Carlos Rosario School students like those from Ethiopia or from China,” said Scott.