The Education Outreach Program (EOP) of the National Arab American Women’s Association(NAAWA) collaborated with Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) at their Social Studies’ Leaders Meeting which was held on October 31st. at the Brambleton Library in Ashburn, VA. The meeting included a diverse group of members of the Loudoun County Community along with 50 social studies teachers. This is the first event that Patricia Coggins (Loudoun County Public Schools Supervisor of the Social Science and Global Studies Program) has put together to introduce the diverse community of Loudoun County to the social studies teachers.
NAAWA EOP members introduced NAAWA and the Arab American community, as well as discussed the various events that EOP held this year. Members considered the issues that our community faces in terms of inequality, insensitivity and/or lack of knowledge about the community in general and suggested different solutions which would help bridge the gapbetween the teachers and the community about our culture.
EOP members emphasized the issues within textbooks in regards to misrepresentations and inaccuracies that pertain to the Arab World. Members also provided real life stories affecting our children and their experiences in the classroom. We also distributed packages with reference materials that would assist the teachers in better understanding Middle East culture and offered our collaboration in assisting teachers in their classrooms if further materials are required, and/or any personal assistance is needed in introducing Middle East history to their classrooms.
The event was very successful as teachers were able to seek face-to-face answers from ourNAAWA members. We also suggested a further initiative with LCPS to do a training session for social studies teachers in the near future.