By: Sarah Martin
Hello CBA Family!
My name is Sarah Martin. My family has been a part of Charleston Bilingual Academy from the beginning and with my youngest one now joining her three older siblings as a CBA student, I wanted to use my time and giftings to help serve the teachers and students by enhancing their curriculum.
CBA uses a project-based curriculum, which means they take the national education standards and create projects around these standards to form their curriculum. This type of learning pushes our students to higher levels of thinking more quickly. Each unit of study begins with a question the students need to answer. Then they formulate a path to answer that question. They will engage with information by researching, interviewing, analyzing data, and by collaborating with classmates. Their learning becomes large webs of information, often overlapping other subject matters.
Part of my job is to enhance the curriculum by setting up interviews with field experts, creating field studies (aka “field trips”), and by providing additional resources for the students to use for their projects such as books, videos, and art lessons.
I am so thankful for the CBA parents who have already given their time to talk to the classes about their expertise in certain areas. After one parent, who is also a doctor, came and talked about digestion with the 3rd and 4th graders, they were seen acting out digestion skits during recess just for fun! We had another parent come and talk to the 3rd graders about present day survivor skills. It gave the students a much better picture of how the original colonists had to survive their first few years in a new land.
One component of CBA’s mission is to instill the love of God into our children and to mold their character by inspiring them to impact the lives around them. So, another aspect of my job is to give our students multiple experiences serving others and thinking missionally all the while connecting to their curriculum.
This year, the 1st graders are partnering with Ms. Nadine. She runs a local thrift store called Recycled Love. She has a passion to serve the hungry and the needy. She uses her thrift store to give low-cost items, free food, and hope to those in the community. By partnering with Ms. Nadine, the students are engaged with Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling, which is a unit of study they will learn in more detail in the spring. This fall, students created colorful banners that were hung up at the Swap and Shop and extra donated items from the Swap and Shop were then given to her store. Coming up, students will be “Counting Their Blessings” in math class and will be looking for ways in return to bless the local community through Ms. Nadine’s store.
Our 2nd graders were learning about “Schools Around the World” in English class as their first unit of study. Now they have begun to connect with The Children’s World School (TCWS) in Honduras. TCWS is a well-established, K-12 Christian bilingual school in Honduras. Already, our school and TCWS have been writing letters back and forth to each other. We look forward to further connections throughout the year with this school in Honduras as we learn from them and seek to show them God’s love through pen pal relationships, gift giving, and prayer.
Since 3rd graders have been studying Native Americans during early colonial time, they are partnering with missionaries, John and Bethanna Kortie, who are serving the Tohono O’odham tribe at the Chuichu (“choo-choo”) village in Arizona. The students have met Mrs. Kortie through a few zoom calls as they listened and took notes about this present-day tribe living on a reservation. This is not only a great opportunity for the 3rd graders to enhance their knowledge of Native Americans, but also an opportunity to grow in awareness of this people group and learn how best to show them the love of God. The Korties lead a couple of Bible studies for kids and seniors on the reservation. The 3rd graders hope to share the gospel with these kids and seniors throughout the year, by acting out Bible stories from The Jesus Storybook Bible to them through videos.
This year our 4th graders are planning monthly Seniors Meetings at the local Charleston Farms Community Center. They are so excited to serve this often-overlooked people group. I am meeting with these students regularly as we plan and create each Senior Meeting to include refreshments, games, activities, and Senior Buddy questions. We recently had our first Senior Meeting and it was a joy for both the students and the seniors. It was so beautiful seeing these seniors come in looking tentatively or a little anxious, but then leaving with big smiles on their faces and talking with each other out in the parking lot. Afterwards, I debriefed with the class and I was amazed how much they learned from their Senior Buddies and how attuned they were to the feelings of these new friends. The 4th graders are studying American History in English class and hope to gain a greater insight from their Senior Buddies as they ask them questions about themselves, American history, government, and faith.
In addition to providing a fun and connecting time for the seniors in the community, the 4th and 3rd graders will also be helping refill the Blessing Box monthly at the Charleston Farms Community Center. The Charleston Farms Community is a very diverse community – diverse in age, ethnicity, language, and economic status. The Blessings Box is donated food for those in need for community members. This is not only another way our students have the opportunity to take on the posture of a servant, but it also connects with their science unit – Body Systems and Living Healthy Lives.
As the 5th/6th graders seek to answer the question, “How can we welcome the foreigner?”, they have been collaborating with the local group, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS). They have interviewed some of the staff and newly arrived refugees and immigrants from various countries to answer this question. The students are researching and gathering information to develop Welcome Packets from various cultural backgrounds to be given to and used by LIRS. In the spring, the students will also be partnering with Water Mission International as they explore the layers of the earth and water in their science unit.
In the beginning of the year, I shared with each class how Jesus showed us what it means to have the posture of a servant. Jesus used his eyes to see people hungry, and he gave them food. He used his ears to listen to the needs of the sick, the widow, and the orphan and he healed them, befriended them, and gave them hope. He used his mind to learn from the scriptures and from his elders and then later used his mouth to engage in spiritual and governmental debates with the religious leaders. He used his heart as he humbly washed his disciples’ feet. And through all of this, he was constantly pointing people back to God. We want to take on the posture of a servant too because we serve a Servant King – King Jesus!
CBA’s mission statement says, “In partnership with parents, CBA exists to inspire world changers through Christ-centered, intercultural, immersion-based education.” These kids are already changing the world around them! Thank you for partnering with us!