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Participate Learning is featuring Smith Elementary School music teacher Sarah Rickman as part of its Global Leader spotlight.  Sarah has been teaching for 13 years and has spent the past 6 years as a proud Smith Seabee.  

Sarah loves being the music teacher at Smith, and she is passionate about building a positive culture and global awareness within her classroom and throughout the school. As one of the global leads at Smith, Sarah strives to make Global Leaders accessible for her students and teachers in a meaningful way.

Sarah loves integrating Global Leaders and components of the framework, such as the global competencies, into her music class. One practical example of integration is when the students make cultural connections between local music and international music during their drumming around the world unit. Looking beyond curriculum integration, Sarah believes one specific initiative has made an especially impactful difference at Marvin B. Smith Elementary this year. 

"An important school-wide initiative to mention that has been extremely successful for us this year has been our specialist team (Music, Art, Media and PE Teachers) taking on a leadership role with Global Leaders.  There is a different global focus that also ties into our Social Emotional Learning for every month. Teachers engage in and share these lessons, videos, and experiences with their students and then they share them with our school community.  We have found that this has built a strong and simple way for teachers and students to regularly learn about and participate in global competencies," said Rickman.  

Sarah was inspired this year by her team's Global Leaders training on courageous leadership. Here is why Sarah believes Global Leaders is important.

"These connections inspire us to take action to make a difference around the world. This vulnerability is what allows our diversity to shine and strengthens us as a school community. But it all starts with our own stories, our students' stories. Many times we view vulnerability as weakness and vulnerability isn’t weakness—it’s not shying away from things that are hard because being comfortable is easier. I believe that we have started this hard but important work at our school, and the unfolding of our students' stories as well as our staff's stories has been one of the most meaningful experiences for me. Our teachers are being vulnerable and they are modeling for our students to choose courage over comfort. They are motivating and inspiring each other and students to be future citizens that are globally aware because of the work we are doing in our building. I am so proud to be a part of this work and to watch global integration in our school truly change the world, starting one story at a time."