Saturday, November 14, 2020

IJWC joins International Human Rights Day

International Junior Writers Club joined the 2020 International Human Rights Day by hosting an international student discussion about using any applicable class lessons to promote human rights and the global goal of reduced inequalities. The activity ran for the whole month of December 2020. Under the mentorship of Art Teacher Whitney Carter, AEC students created a human rights puzzle, used human rights designs in their ceramic project, and discussed the significance of human rights to reduce inequalities. In math, AEC students explored the application of systems of equations to the world's human rights scores. Using Padlet, AEC students discussed, together with students from Asia, ways they could help promote human rights and the global goal of reduced inequalities. Students from Jose Rizal Memorial State University High School Department, Dapitan City, Philippines, under the leadership of Principal Paterno Baguinat III and students from Philippine Science High School, Dipolog City, Philipines, under the mentorship of Special Science Teacher Araibo Elumba participated in the Padlet discussion.

Human Rights Day is observed every 10th of December each year. This year's theme is: "Recover Better - Stand Up for Human Rights." This year’s celebration relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on the need to build back better by ensuring human rights are central to recovery efforts. We can reach our common global goals only if we create equal opportunities for all, address the failures exposed and exploited by COVID-19, and apply human rights standards to tackle entrenched, systematic, and intergenerational inequalities, exclusion, and discrimination.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Texas, Georgia students collaborate to study world population

Students from Odessa, TX, and Atlanta, GA, collaborated with each other on a week-long project to study the world population. Culminated on November 6, 2020, the project allowed students to analyze the world population data obtained from Our World in Data website using tables, graphs, and equations. Students generated the mathematical model that best described the world population trend. Using Flipgrid, they introduced themselves and interacted with each other. Using Padlet, they discussed the implications of the world population growth and offered recommendations in terms of applicable global sustainable development goals. Some of the global goals students discussed that could be influenced by world population growth were no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, clean water/sanitation, affordable/clean energy, responsible consumption/production, and peace/justice/strong institution. The majority of the students recommended comprehensive and inclusive family planning programs. Some of them suggested government-funded methods of contraception to be available even to those whose cultural or religious beliefs contradicted contraception.

This inter-school activity between students from Texas and Georgia was made possible through the active partnership of AEC with Dr. Roxanne Comegys, a 3DE Math and Go TIP Induction advisor at Banneker High School. This was the first time that AEC tried to network with a school from another state. It gave the students the opportunity not just to collaborate with each other but also to experience the cultural diversity of America.

Friday, October 30, 2020

AEC connects Red Ribbon Week celebration with SDGs

Alternative Education Center in Odessa, TX, joined the nation's Red Ribbon Week celebration on October 28-30, 2020 with the theme, "Be Happy. Be Brave. Be Drug-Free." Aside from dressing up for the week's spirit days, AEC students and teachers competed in a poster and essay contest, connecting the Red Ribbon Week celebration with the global sustainable development goals (SDGs). Participants' posters depicted the theme of the celebration and an SDG of choice. Their essays explained how their posters related to the SDG they had chosen. The deliberate connection between the celebration and SDG was one of the school's global education initiatives to help students raise awareness not only of drug-abuse prevention but also of the UN-identified global goals.

Red Ribbon Week is the largest drug-abuse prevention campaign in the nation. With various themes focusing on drug-abuse prevention, the campaign has been celebrated annually since 1985. Youth's challenges might have changed since then, but the campaign's mission remains the same: support families and communities in nurturing the full potential of healthy, drug-free youth. This year's theme, "Be Happy. Be Brave. Be Drug-Free."  helps amplify the campaign's mission, encouraging children, families, and communities to live healthy, happy, and drug-free lives. It also serves as a reminder that we are all empowered to shape our communities through positivity, bravery, and strength.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

IJWC joins International Translation Day celebration

Students at the Alternative Education Center in Odessa, TX, joined the International Translation Day celebration on September 30, 2020. Through the leadership of Ms. Sandra Inman, AEC Spanish teacher, students translated the facility's mural that states, "Believe you can" into the language of their choice. They made a poster of their translation using international languages such as Spanish, Bengali, and Filipino, reflecting the diversity of the facility's staff. After creating their posters, students wrote an essay responding to the prompt: Does knowing different languages improve our quality of education? The prompt allowed the students to voice their observations, ideas, and opinions about quality education as one of the global sustainable development goals. Some areas the students explained as benefits of knowing more than one language were work marketability, travel, and studying abroad. One student commented that Spanish is one of the foreign languages that need to be learned because, aside from the fact the many countries speak Spanish, the Latino population in the U.S. and Canada is increasing. All students believed that knowing different languages improve our quality of education; however, they said intelligence and smartness can be any language. 

Multilingualism is a core value of the United Nations. The International Translation Day has been celebrated every September 30 of the year since 2005 to commemorate the feast of St. Jerome, the Bible translator considered the patron saint of translators. The U.N. annually conducts a global translation contest called U.N. St. Jerome Translation Contest. The contest rewards the best translations in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish, and German and aims to celebrate multilingualism. 

Friday, September 18, 2020

AEC celebrates International Dot Day

Students at Alternative Education Center in Odessa, TX, celebrated International Dot Day on September 15, 2020, through the leadership of Ms. Whitney Carter, Art teacher at the Alternative Education Center and Ector County Youth Center. Using dots, students created their artwork to express their creativity and the message they wanted to share with the class. Students used pens and markers to complete the project.

Ms. Carter explained that International Dot Day is a worldwide celebration of creativity, courage, and collaboration. It started when teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot on September 15, 2009. The book is the story of a thoughtful teacher who challenges a skeptical student to trust in her ability to make her mark. What has begun with a small dot on a piece of paper now becomes a breakthrough of inspiration for self-expression to myriad children and adults worldwide.

An avenue for self-expression is vital amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It encompasses expressions of how people feel right now and the need for them to be heard, helping improve their mental health despite this stressful situation. Dot is the most basic utility for illustrations that is prejudice-free and culture-inclusive. When used to illustrate and express our feelings, struggles, efforts, aspirations, and hopes, dots just become as powerful as words to give us emotional and mental relief. This dot project initiated by Ms. Carter at AEC/ECYC did not only allow students to understand the purpose of International Dot Day but also to contribute to attaining the global sustainable development goal of good health and well-being.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

IJWC adviser receives Fulbright award

Date: August 14, 2020

Contact: ECA Press Office
Telephone: 202-632-6452

Mr. Reynaldo Duran of Alternative Education Center in Odessa, Texas has been selected for the Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms, a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Mr. Duran is one of approximately 71 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad through the Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership potential.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S government and was created to increase mutual understanding and build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has given over 390,000 passionate and accomplished students, scholars, teachers, artists, and professionals of all backgrounds and fields the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to important international problems. The global network of Fulbrighters fosters mutual understanding between the United States and partner nations, advances knowledge across communities, and improves lives around the globe.

Fulbrighters address critical global challenges in all fields, while building relationships, knowledge, and leadership in support of the long-term interests of the United States. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in many areas and include 60 Nobel Prize laureates, 75 MacArthur Foundation Fellows, and 37 who have served as a head of state or government. Eighty-six Fulbright alumni have won in total 91 Pulitzer Prizes.

Fulbright is active in more than 160 countries worldwide and partners with participating governments, host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States. Many of these organizations also provide direct and indirect support. ECA sponsors the Fulbright program, and several non-profit, cooperative partners implement and support the program on the Bureau’s behalf.

The Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program is a year-long professional development opportunity for U.S. elementary, middle, and high school teachers to develop skills for preparing students for a competitive global economy. The program equips teachers to bring an international perspective to their schools through targeted training, experience abroad, and global collaboration.

For further information about the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State, please visit or contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Press Office at

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

IJWC adviser speaks at Asian webinar-workshop

Responding to the invitation to share some tools that teachers could use during the COVID-19 crisis, the IJWC adviser spoke at a webinar-workshop sponsored by the Philippines' Department of Education, Schools Division of Dapitan City and the Philippine Science High School, Zamboanga Peninsula Region Campus on May 18-29, 2020. In separate sessions, the IJWC adviser shared with teachers some offline educational games through Google Classroom and demonstrated to teachers how to use Screencastify, Loom, and Kialo. Participating teachers created their own offline games and got to experience for the first time how to use Google Classroom, Screencastify, Loom, and Kialo. Other personalities who shared their expertise and other offline and online teaching tools during the two-week webinar-workshop were officials of the Department of Education and alumni of the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program for International Teachers (DAI) and the Fulbright International Leaders in Education Program (ILEP).

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

IJWC members discuss about COVID-19

As their last collaborative activity before school closure, members of the International Junior Writers Club discussed COVID-19, addressing the UN-identified global sustainable goal of good health and well-being. Alternative students from Odessa, TX, researched online about COVID-19 and described the global data mathematically. They were unanimous, presenting that the COVID-19 growth was best described by an exponential function. The students with their international learning partners read the online article Coronavirus Maps and Charts and other online news articles about the global pandemic and did some deep reflection. They then wrote an essay explaining the facts and myths about COVID-19 and ways to prevent and prepare for it. Through Flipgrid, students discussed their essays with the group. Their discussion made them more aware and proactive in dealing with the disease.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Alternative Education students comment on Asian math videos

Alternative Education students from Odessa, TX gave their feedback on mathematics videos created by students at Dapitan City National High School, Dapitan City, Philippines. Alternative Education students watched the videos and wrote their comments about the videos. The videos were part of the math project in the mathematics classes of teachers Jasmin Balladares and Julie Anne Gallosa. Asian students were videotaped while demonstrating and explaining mathematical processes on topics such as dividing polynomials, arithmetic and geometric sequences, permutations and combinations, dependent and independent events, angles and arcs, etc. American students explained in writing what they had learned from the videos and what they could suggest in improving the videos. As an extension of the activity, American students used no-face and password-protected Flipgrid to record their comments on Asian math videos and interact with their international learning partners.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Alternative Education students edit Spanish freestyle stories

Students at the Alternative Education Center, Odessa, TX revised and edited freestyle stories of students from Murcia, Spain. Under the mentorship of teacher Trini Serrano Diaz, Spanish students wrote stories about themselves, their travels, and other fiction and nonfiction stories. Emphasis was their use of simple past tense and past continuous tense. Aside from looking at the correct usage of the focused tenses of the verb, Alternative Education students revised and edited the stories using ARMS and CUPS strategy.