California Educator

December 2014

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N A U G U S T , the EdTech Summit South Africa 2014 tour gave me the opportunity to share the Becoming Our Life Dreams (BOLD) program, which encourages girls "to continue with higher education, pursue professional career opportunities, and explore endless possibilities" and supports "personal growth: building self-esteem, relationships, and physical and emotional wellness." As the lead facilitator of this new program, I had no idea when I wrote the vision statement that I would fulfill my own passion to support the dreams of young women, both in my own teaching community and in South Africa. BOLD Girls evolved as a pilot program funded by the Butte County Office of Education in fall 2012. It is now being implemented in several BCOE schools. Our goals are aligned with those of many South Africa schools that seek to empower all young people. Attending college was once unlikely for young black South Africans, but a movement to revolutionize education in South Africa is becoming a reality. EdTech South Africa is bringing free technology workshops to educators throughout South Africa so they can train students to compete and prepare for higher education and careers in an ever-expanding global economy. The EdTech team, led by K aren Kirsch Page and Siobhan Thatcher, consisted of educators from the U.S., Croatia, and various regions of South Africa. We presented workshops on technology use in the classroom so par- ticipants could broaden their teaching practices and gain experience collaborating with a global team of educators who are dedicated to sharing knowledge in technology, social justice issues and best teaching practices. My goal was to facilitate a global connection between the U.S. BOLD Girls and the newly launched South African BOLD Girls program. The first stop for the EdTech team was in Ladysmith at the South African Extraordinary Schools Coalition. The SAESC schools are high-quality, achievement-oriented schools that provide disadvantaged learners across South Africa with the opportunity to prepare for success in higher education and work. The team then traveled to Durban, a coastal city in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, to visit the Inanda Seminary, a boarding school for girls, grades 8-12. The teacher interns, led by a dynamic young woman, Gugulethu Radebe, enthusiastically shared that they wanted to implement the program — and they did! We arrived in Cape Town on National Women's Day, Aug. 9, commemorat- ing the day in 1956 when women marched in Pretoria to protest the apartheid Pass laws. By the end of the tour, four schools expressed interest in launch- ing the BOLD Girls program. Currently, the Inanda Seminary has 30 girls in the BOLD program, and the Leap Schools in Cape Town and Johannesburg are launching programs at the beginning of their school year, January 2015. We have formed a closed group on Facebook, the BOLD Global Network page, for participants and facilitators in the U.S. and South Africa. The BOLD Global Network is a forum to share articles, projects, assignments and insights relating to the empowerment of girls and women. The goal for 2015 is to return to South Africa to facilitate a BOLD Girls South Africa Summit, which will provide opportunities for facilitators, interns and teachers to build their individual programs to address the specific needs of their communities. I came to South Africa to support young women in achieving their life dreams through the BOLD Girls program. It was there that my own dream emerged as a reality. Making BOLD dreams a reality for girls By Deanna Alexich, Butte County Teachers Association Member supports education in Butte County and South Africa Contact Alexich at Twitter handle: @edTechSummitSA Facebook page: Blog: Summit website: Go Online @ Deanna Alexich with students Ayanda Mqadi and Khosi Snenhlanhla Khumalo, and colleague Gugulethu Radebe. I Guest column Perspectives 25 V O L U M E 1 9 I S S U E 5

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