Wake County Schools

Visiting teachers program helps Wake bring the world to area classrooms

Posted August 14

— Some Wake County classrooms will again have an international perspective again this year because of a program that brings in educators from across the globe.

The Wake County Public School System has been part of the Participate program, formerly known as VIF International Education, since 1998 and now has 92 teachers from 13 countries working in 52 area schools. the program is designed to help both teachers and their students gain cultural awareness and creative thinking and problem-solving skills that will help them thrive in an increasingly global marketplace.

"It's a good program to expand and evolve as an educator," said Jermaine Howell, a native of Jamaica.

Howell was among 33 new international teachers who spent time Monday learning how to set up their classrooms for the school year that starts in two weeks.

"It's a new environment, new situation. Everything is different," he said. "I'm excited, excited and eagerly anticipating to meet my new students and my school."

"Whether it be posters or manipulatives, our department has purchased items for them to give them an opportunity not only to see what a classroom would look like, but to actually pick up supplies," said Cheryl Stidham, director of talent for the school district.

The new teachers also got to meet others in the Participate program, which allows teachers to stay up to five years on work visas.

"I love the diversity that it brings to our schools," Stidham said. "The opportunity that it affords our students to learn about the differences around the world, to learn about acceptance of others who may not be like them."

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