At the end of August, Social Studies ELA Secondary TOSA John Helgeson, Ph.D., had the opportunity to be a panelist at the United Nations Civil Society Conference in Salt Lake City. The theme for the conference focused on building inclusive and sustainable cities and communities. As a result of the conference, an outcome document was created that outlined a global vision for inclusive and sustainable cities and communities by 2030. Youth participants also drafted and adopted a stand-alone climate compact.
As a panelist, Helgeson spoke about how countries and school systems can learn from exploring effective professional development models from high achieving countries. He was selected for this opportunity because of his role in education, his experience with professional development, and his experience in international education, which includes working with educators and university professors in Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Taiwan and China.
Helgeson was joined by three other panelists including Dr. Rose Carderelli, executive council member of Kappa Delta Pi, director of the United Nations NGO/Department of Global Communication and director of Childhood Education International; Dr. Vicky Tusken, president of the Kappa Delta Pi executive council and secondary curriculum coordinator in DeKalb, Illinois; and Dianne Whitehead, chief executive officer of Childhood Education International in Washington, D.C.
“Civil society is what we can do as the general population, so those attending the conference included non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, and individuals interested in working together to better our world and make a difference or make a change from what they’re doing,” said Helgeson.
When asked how this conference ties into his work in Northshore he said, “We have students and staff with diverse backgrounds attending our schools and living in our communities. Embracing and uplifting these individuals was pertinent to my decision to attend the conference, especially since a key theme of the conference was inclusivity.”
Helgeson also stressed the importance of recognizing what we, as a district, are doing to support all of our students from different backgrounds - racially, socio-economically and ability - as well as their families.
This work done by Helgeson is in alignment with Goal 3 of the District’s Strategic Plan.
“It’s important to take what we know and to expand on those opportunities,” said Helgeson. “I was able to talk with some people from different countries about how we can learn together through different experiences. This conference affirmed the importance of learning from one another.”