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    Community Partners Recognized for Stellar Engagement
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    Community Partners Recognized for Stellar Engagement

    The Vietnamese Friendship Association (VFA) and Confucius Institute of the State of Washington (CIWA) were recognized on May 9 as premier partners by the Seattle School Board for their work in schools and positive impact in the lives of Seattle Public Schools students.

    Vietnamese Friendship Association Recognized as Premier Partner

    Vietnamese Friendship Association members pose for photo with school board and superintendent and staffDirector of Racial Equity Advancement (DREA) Dr. Concie Pedroza introduced the VFA as a community-based organization that, “values our board policy 0030 [Ensuring Educational and Racial Equity] as an integral portion of their work. They are focused on data, equity and working within the realms of impact for all kids in our system.”

    VFA is a non-profit organization established in 1978 to support the resettlement of Vietnamese refugees and immigrants adjusting to life in the United States after the Vietnam War. Providing programs and services for more than 300 Seattle Public Schools immigrant and refugee families, the non-profit, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, collaborates with schools for student success.

    Executive Director of VFA James Hong addressed the board, “We are proud to partner with Seattle Public Schools to serve immigrant and refugee youth and communities. We as leaders and organizations of power have a lot of room to grow. We must ensure that [students] are not only a part of the conversation but a part of the decision-making process.” In conclusion, Hong premiered a video featuring student testimonials highlighting VFA’s work in action at Seattle World School.

    Seattle Chongqing Sister City Partnership

    Confucius Institute of Washington members pose for photo with school board, superintendent and staffThe Seattle – Chongqing Sister Cities established 35 years ago as an important step in positive international relations between China and the United States. In 2010, Seattle Public Schools was invited to partner with the Chongqing Municipal Education Commission after CIWA was founded. Since that time, the relationship between Chongqing and Seattle has been strengthened, exemplified by the Chongqing Municipal Education Commission being recognized as Chinese Partner of the Year at the Global Confucius Institute Conference in China in December 2017.

    Housed at Chief Sealth International High School and Denny International Middle School, the Confucius Institute Education Center provides a space dedicated to Chinese language and culture. It also functions as a communal space, offering language class, workshops and cultural programs for the greater community.

    Seattle Public Schools’ International Education Administrator Michele Aoki spoke about the district’s partnership with CIWA benefiting student learning through Chinese language immersion from visiting teachers. “Hundreds of students in Seattle Public Schools have developed caring relationships with our visiting teachers from Chongqing, and Seattle Public Schools educators have gained a broader sense of how education is conducted in other countries through these collaborations across the ocean.”

    CIWA provides a multitude of pathways for students and educators, ranging from language programs to certification, mentorship and educational trips to China. This spring, two student delegations, one from Chief Sealth International High School and another from Beacon Hill International Elementary School, traveled to Chongqing to represent their communities abroad and learn through cultural immersion.

    VFA and CIWA are stellar examples of community organizations that have created positive partnerships across the school district, collaborating with Seattle Public Schools for student success.