Teaching Students about Conditions in Cuba

The Foundation is sharing stories from grant and scholarship recipients to show how funding makes an impact. Hear how MCPASD staff, teachers and students are using their grants and scholarships, and see how your dollars make a difference!

Janel Anderson, a social studies teacher at Middleton High School, received a $500 grant to study in Cuba.

 The grant money was used towards my tuition and travel expenses for a two-week study in Cuba,” Anderson explains.

She attended Tulane University’s Cuban Culture & Society Teacher Institute 2018.

“I have shared with students on an ongoing basis the impact of the revolution and the current conditions,” Anderson says.

Attending the institute has influenced how Anderson teaches. In particular, she says, her experience has helped her share more in areas including the growth of tourism on the economy, environment and the political pressures; the attitudes of Cubans regarding Americans and U.S. policies regarding travel and embargo; and life under a socialist regime, including scarcity and the lack of understanding about cost, profit, business planning and entrepreneurship.

Anderson says sharing what she learned in turn helps students better understand the perceptions that Cubans have of the U.S. and U.S. policy.

“Students have gained authentic and human insights into the often misunderstood island,” Anderson says. “They have made connections between their lives and the lives of Cubans.”

She also shows students the photos, videos, music and artifacts she gathered on her Cuban trip.

Anderson has given presentations and helped build curriculum in both Latin American Studies and Economics classes at Middleton High School. She has also presented at professional conferences on the impact of teacher travel and the use of education as a tool of the socialist revolution in Cuba.

“I have developed relationships with teachers at Spanish immersion schools in Milwaukee as well as Louisiana, Ohio and Illinois,” Anderson adds. “These colleagues continue to share their work with me so that I can incorporate it into my classes.”

Anderson is grateful for the message behind the grant.

“This grant was critical not only in helping me fund my travel but even more importantly it communicated to me that my community and school district value my growth as a professional,” Anderson says. “The grant let me know that I am supported and encouraged to continue looking for powerful experiences like this to improve my practice.”

MCPASD staff, teachers and students who are interested in applying for an Education Foundation grant or scholarship can contact Perry Hibner. To donate to the Foundation, use the link on our donations page, or mail a check to MCPASD Education Foundation, c/o Perry Hibner, 7106 South Avenue, Middleton, WI 53562. Thank you!

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