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Virtual Tutoring: Kenya Pod

One of our most innovative student initiatives has been the inception of the Virtual Tutoring Program.


Going on its second year, in collaboration with the Greater GRACE Academic Center in Kisii, Kenya, Waldwick High School's teacher advisor, Ted Opderbeck, and his students developed a virtual tutoring program. Sessions included science experiment ice-breakers, meet & greets, reading with 3rd-5th graders, Swahili lessons, and cultural songs & dance. This tutoring program has since expanded to Waldwick Middle School and continues to occur on a weekly basis throughout the school year! The first of its kind at TEEEM, WHS & the GRACE Project have set the bar for innovative ways to connect communities from over 7,000 miles away. TEEEM was proud to donate $2,000 to the GRACE Project on behalf of Waldwick High School.

Using this initiative as a model, we are currently in the process of developing similar virtual tutoring programs in a few of our other sites! Stay tuned as we begin making this available to more students.

Virtual Shark Tank: Kenya Pod

After reflecting on the successful implementation of the Virtual Tutoring Program, Waldwick High School and the Greater GRACE Academic Center piloted a new program: Virtual Shark Tank.

The first-ever Virtual Shark Tank Program encouraged the 6th and 7th graders to identify and research needs in their community, then create sustainable solutions. While the Kenyan students constructed comprehensive business plans, Waldwick High School students assisted with compiling information onto slides, helped with presentation skills, and constructed/evaluated budgets.

To help bring the business plans to fruition, TEEEM students raised and donated $5,000 for all three teams: The first place team, Petal Care, focused their efforts feminine hygiene, where they created snap-on washable menstrual pads. In second place, Afya Bora Investment developed solutions to help increase the productivity of indigenous vegetables. And in third place,  Buy Our Own Build Our Own aimed to start a secondhand clothing store. We will report back with updates on each of the student businesses!

Click here to read the article in The Bergen Record.

Virtual Culture Exchange: Ukraine Pod

Mount Olive High School students were really motivated by the empathy component of TEEEM, feeling that it's a pillar that should drive their engagement with the world. After brainstorming different ways to incorporate empathy and deepen the connection with their site -- Ukraine -- students established a Virtual Culture Exchange Program. This program connects MOHS students with 9th graders of Boyko School in Kharkiv, Ukraine, via Zoom.

Thanks to teacher advisor Kim Lewin and Mission for Ukraine co-founders, Mark Kreynovich & Dillon Carroll, students of both schools interact in English and Ukrainian to learn more about one another and their ways of life, generating connections over the span of 5,000 miles.

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