Students from the International Charter School’s 3rd grade dual language class will present on homelessness to the Rhode Island General Assembly on Wednesday, June 5th at 10:30 AM.
The students became aware of the issue when they created a simulated community for their class, with each student taking a different role in the community. But even simulated communities aren’t immune from issues of poverty, and soon enough a tent city similar to the ones that appeared in Rhode Island in 2009 was introduced to the community.
The students decided to ask for more information, from Prof. Eric Hirsch of Providence College and Barbara Kalil of the Rhode Island Homeless Advocacy Project. And then the inquisitive 3rd graders went further; they asked what they could do to make a difference.
After a month of research, the students will present their findings to the General Assembly on Wednesday morning. In a callback to the April 3rd event the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless held, the “There’s No Place Like Home” rally and press conference in support of bills H5554 and S494 that provide funding for rental vouchers and the winter shelter system, the International Charter School’s students will be dressed like munchkins from the popular story (the central characters of the story will make a re-appearance). The students have also been practicing a song for the legislators to sing with Dorothy.
The mission of the International Charter School (ICS) is to integrate the diverse languages and cultures of the communities it serves by teaching all students in two languages-in Spanish and English or in Portuguese and English-and helping children develop an appreciation of other cultures. Children learn to work collaboratively from their multiple experiences and backgrounds, striving towards high standards of academic achievement. Everyone is part of a community of learners, engaging in inquiry about the world, themselves, and others.
Here’s a video from the last time kids lobbied legislators on ending homelessness in Rhode Island: