Camden Conference in the Classroom Pilot Program a Success!
Seven high schools in Maine participated in a pilot program to promote offering a course on the 2015 Camden Conference topic: Russia Resurgent, with the teacher and some students attending the three day Conference event in February. The purpose was two-fold: 1) to promote courses being offered on current foreign affairs in Maine high schools, and to increase the attendance of high school students at the annual February Camden Conference.
The impact of the support system was significant, for in 2012, only nine high school students attended the Camden Conference, although no school offered a course on foreign affairs. In 2015, because of the pilot program, 56 high school students attended the Conference, and 51 of those students were enrolled in a course at their high school on Russia, which were offered by eight high schools.
A nine month system of support, called Camden Conference in the Classroom, began with a workshop in September featuring presentations by experts on Russia. Teachers received a range of resources about Russia for use in their course. Following the Conference, teachers showed speaker videos to other students enrolled in their course. At the end of the school year students entered an Essay Contest on Russia today and its impact on global affairs; the winners are featured in the High School Section of the Education webpage.
All teachers expressed enthusiasm for the support system to offer a course on Russia. Such an impact was the total pilot experience for teachers and their students that all pilot teachers plan to participate in the 2015-16 Program on the New Africa. These teachers now call themselves the Camden Conference in the Classroom Cohort, and hope to influence trends in Maine high schools for preparing students as global citizens.
Students expressed excitement about attending the global conference event, and learning about Russia from Russian experts, and from others around the world. Students appreciated speakers offering differing perspectives on Russia, which raised many questions about the complexity of global dynamics. The biggest impact perhaps was the sense of urgency that was created for being prepared for future leadership role in emerging world affairs.
The Camden Conference salutes pilot teachers from the following high schools for their strong commitment to preparing students as global citizens: Gould Academy (Bethel), Foxcroft Academy (Dover-Foxcroft), Maine Academy of Natural Sciences (Hinkley), Oceanside High School (Rockland), Edward Little High School (Auburn), Portland High School (Portland), and Medomak Valley High School (Waldoboro).