Nepal School Partnership

This article was written by Elsie Koger, a student in the Journalism class at U-32.

A previous version of this article incorrectly spelled the name Michele Tofel Murray, as Michelle Tofallmurray.

 

8 teachers from U-32 went to Nepal over break to form a partnership with a school in Thangpal Valley. Amy Urling, a science teacher at U-32, contacted one of her former students who works with Go Global. Go Global is an organization that can set up partner relations. Amy asked about setting up a partner relationship with another school. Go Global also takes teachers on group trips like the one the U-32 teachers went on to Thangpal Valley in Nepal. 

Flyer in the atrium (Elsie Koger/Chronicle)

Nepal is located in South Asia under China and has a population of approximately 30 million residents. The school they visited is in Thangpal Valley, near Kathmandu.  Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal and is located in the foothills of the Himalayas.

 

The teachers who went to Nepal over February break were Kara Rosenberg, Geoff Green, Karen Liebermann, Erin Galligan Baldwin, Erin Mooney, Michele Tofel Murray, Amy Urling, and Steven Dellinger-Pate.

 

Amy Urling proposed this idea to Steven last year. “Steven thought it was a great idea because he is the kind of principal who always wants to see what kind of new things we as a school can provide for students in terms of opportunities,” said Kara Rosenberg, a teacher at U-32.

 

U-32 teachers in Nepal (Amy Urling)

The school they formed a partnership with is a union school like U-32. This school has been rebuilt recently due to an earthquake that destroyed many schools in that area of Nepal. This school brings together many kids from different villages who attended other schools before the earthquake.

 

The first couple of days the teachers spent in Nepal were in Kathmandu.  The next few days were spent at the school in Thangpal Valley visiting teachers and teaching lessons. They then had a reflection day where they debriefed and talked about what they learned. They ended the trip back to Kathmandu.

 

Their goals for this trip were to form a partnership with the school and see if they could bring U-32 students there in the future. They would like to have the students at both schools doing similar things and for the schools to share ideas and data. “For example, we could share how climate change is affecting Vermont versus Nepal,” said Amy Urling.

 

They observed what it would look like if they brought groups of students there. “What would it look like in terms of what’s safe and what’s not safe, what’s comfortable and what’s outside the bounds,” said Kara Rosenberg.

 

If U-32 brings students in the future, there will likely be fewer students. it is highly unlikely that students from Nepal would come here. “It’s just prohibitively expensive and also it is very difficult to get visas at this point in time,” said Kara.

 

“I am interested in traveling to more than just the United States, and Nepal is a very cool mountainous place,” said Isobel Koger, regarding why she would like to be a part of this trip and attended the callback. 

 

“I think it would be a great way to share resources and to see other cultures that we might not be able to otherwise,” said Clara Maker, expressing why she thinks this partnership could be a good thing for the school and its students. It is something she might want to be a part of.

 

Kara Rosenburg who went on the trip to Nepal would like to start incorporating Nepali culture into her classes so they could have a way to connect with students from Nepal. She teaches English classes at U-32. She would like to start including Nepali authors in her class. 

 

Kara also hopes to have students here at U-32 have pen pals from the partnered school in Nepal. That way it is something available to everyone at this school. She would like to find ways to have new experiences accessible to all students that don’t involve traveling. “What are ways that more people can get involved, who may never travel to Nepal through U-32, but they could meet these kids and learn about their lives,” said Kara.

 

Karen Lieberman was excited about this trip and the new adventure. She was excited to start what she hopes is the beginning of a long-term connection with a country different from the ones we have gone to in the past. “I think we’re just excited to have a sister school, hopefully, a connection with someplace really different and a part of the world that is experiencing a lot of pressures,” said Karen.

Karen and Amy with class in Nepal (Karen Liebermann)

Karen is grateful for this experience and for getting to be a part of this trip. “We immediately get to visit this incredible part of the world and get to be hosted by them. But I’m curious about what we can offer them that’s useful to them,” said Karen.

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