On behalf of the team at Teach About U.S., I would like to wish you all the best for a healthy, successful, and inspiring new year. As the school year resumes all throughout Germany and the U.S., many of us are experiencing a very different and challenging state of affairs with many schools remaining physically closed due to the extended shutdown.
There is no doubt we have challenging weeks and months ahead of us. Thanks to you, the teachers and educators, young people remain engaged in education against all odds. Last year's experience—a successfully concluded Going Green project in its sixth iteration and the U.S. Election Project—has shown that this trying time can also be an opportunity to explore new paths and seek new options for digitally enhanced teaching and learning.
With the transition to a new administration in the U.S. under way, whose election so many of you have monitored closely during the fall, we hope to add new initiatives and ideas to our Going Green project. We strongly believe that educational initiatives forging direct exchanges between our countries at the grassroots level are even more important now.
Goodbye and thank you
On a personal note, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Teach About U.S. community as I will be leaving the position as educational project manager at the end of this month. I will be completing my teacher certification at a secondary school and remain engaged as an educational advisor to the project. Developing this platform and initiative together with my colleagues at the U.S. Embassy and LIFE e.V. and our many partners has been an honor and a privilege.
Today, we're looking at an educational project that is healthy and alive. Since we started our cooperation in 2012, we have reached thousands of participants in Germany, the U.S., and beyond. Over 5,000 took part in the U.S. Embassy School Election Project last fall alone. Together with our friends at the Transatlantic Outreach Program, we facilitated close to one-hundred virtual transatlantic exchanges over the years. We recorded some of the highest ever user numbers on our platform last year during the first wave of school closures, explored new ways of online teacher training with you, and even branched out our school projects to state-funded initiatives in Baden-Württemberg and California as well as Serbia. My colleagues and I are incredibly proud that our community has grown during this critical period, and it gives us hope that students and teachers alike are stoked to engage in democratic learning, civic discourse, and intercultural understanding across borders.
So what will come next? Plans for 2021
Teach About U.S. and with it the Going Green curriculum will remain available throughout the school year. My colleague at LIFE e.V., Katja Krüger (firstname.lastname@example.org), will continue maintaining the platform and facilitating its use. Please get in touch with her to request a virtual classroom or for technical questions and advice.
Due to the pandemic and because the team will be understaffed, Teach About U.S. will not host a central competition as part of the Going Green project this summer. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates offer informal virtual exchanges as part of the MeetUS program and provide some input through expert speakers of the U.S. Embassy speaker series. If you are interested in a virtual school visit, please get in touch with Dr. Martina Kohl (email@example.com). Embassy and Consulate colleagues would be delighted to discuss your students’ ideas and action plans on an individual basis. In any case, please upload the action plans onto Teach About U.S. so we can share and celebrate your good work.
I wish my colleagues at Teach About U.S. the best of luck and I hope you will be rooting for this project the same way I will be.
With best wishes,