By Dr. Debra Colley
As we think about understanding and respecting others, we know that we must understand and respect ourselves first. Our individual experiences, informed by language and cultural heritage, shape our development and learning, our academic and social interactions, our goals and interests, and our self-esteem and confidence. Thus, as our classrooms become more culturally and linguistically diverse, educators must recognize language and culture as core strengths for learning and for the development of self-awareness and self-esteem in students. Education today requires much more than providing students with academic preparation. The school experience should be a perpetually enriching process of ongoing growth, personally and intellectually, taking into consideration the context of our society where diversity, progress, and change are fundamental.
The International School #45, in the Buffalo Public School District, is dedicated to implementing these practices as part of its faculty and administrator’s commitment to helping each student reach his or her potential. Niagara University’s College of Education was honored to recognize the Buffalo Public School’s International School at its Annual Professional Recognition Dinner.
The 780 students at the International School #45 represent over 70 countries and 30 languages. The school’s mission supports a global, multicultural perspective that fosters understanding and acceptance of diversity, high academic achievement and social responsibility. The dedicated leaders, teachers, and staff provide explicit, differentiated instruction, using research-based programs that align with the district’s academic plan.
The College of Education commended School #45 on its most recent designation as a “School in Good Standing” by the New York State Education Department. As the Dean of the College of Education, I am honored that we are partners with a school doing meaningful work in this way. We have the unique opportunity to work within the school building itself to prepare teachers in addressing the complex needs of English language learning students. The university-school-community partnership has been an integral component in this turnaround and the enhanced achievement of the students in School #45 – this type of impact on student learning is the most important work of a university’s school of education.
Niagara University’s College of Education is proud to applaud the commitment of the International School #45 in serving all students and bringing forth a global understanding while raising academic achievement and college and career readiness for all.