Arts Missoula GLOBAL has hired two part-time teachers, Monica Dierken and Nathan Poukish, to help teach 180 seminars in the Global and Cultural Competence (GCC) Program in three Missoula elementary schools this fall and spring of 2023. Monica is currently a graduate student in UM’s College of Education, studying to be a teacher and Nathan has a teaching background, with 9 years of classroom experience. Funding for the program expansion is provided through a multi-year grant from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation.
The GCC Program started in 2018 with seminars taught in 7 schools within the Missoula County Public School (MCPS) district. During the 2019 – 2020 academic year, with school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, seminars were offered through a remote learning platform and demand increased. Last year, in the 2021 – 2022 academic year, three additional school districts, DeSmet, Target Range and Lolo, joined the GCC Program. A record 300 seminars were offered in 10 elementary, middle and high schools last year. This year, Lewis and Clark Elementary, Hawthorne Elementary and St. Joseph Elementary and Middle Schools were added. That brings the total number of schools serviced to 17, since the inception of the program, back in 2018.
“As this program grows, we continue to focus on equity and reaching all schools in the MCPS district and beyond. We are working toward increased funding opportunities to ensure equity and access” said Heather Adams, Executive Director of Arts Missoula.
The GCC Program was developed in Missoula by Dr. Udo Fluck, Director of Arts Missoula GLOBAL, and has been offered since fall of 2018. The GCC Program helps 3rd, 7th and 11th grade students to develop global and cultural competence, identifying a variety of similarities and differences between diverse continents, countries and regions. This is accomplished by utilizing cultural, historical, geographic, linguistic, and economic information, as well as information on climate conditions and government structures, to develop a sense of place and space.
It is the only program of its kind in the United States, in regard to breadth (elementary school to university level), as well as its unique pedagogical approach. For the past three years, Udo was the only teacher in the program. “I am thrilled about the schools continued interest, and new schools joining, which resulted in the steady program expansion. The fact that we are now able, with Monica and Nathan, two trained and experienced teachers, to meet that additional seminar demand, is important for the continued growth of the program”, Udo said.