Borders to Bridges gets Charter School pilot


The Borders to Bridges: Creativity-Based Immigration Curriculum Guidebook is headed to the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School for a schoolwide workshop on Friday, Nov. 22, from 2 pm to 3 pm.

Borders to Bridges is a curriculum designed by 2017 Vineyard Vision fellow Lynn Ditchfield to study immigration and promote dialogue through art-based activities. The curriculum has more than 50 K-12 lesson plans involving poetry, prose, and personal narratives. Students then complete projects and present them through performances, exhibitions, and art displays. 

Students are also connected with books, films, videos, music, photography, and service organizations committed to furthering immigrant and human rights.

The Charter School workshop is a pilot of the guidebook, and will be evaluated, with the hope it will one day be used nationally.

The curriculum has been a largely collaborative effort. Rebecca McCarthy, Ditchfield’s mentor, is assisting in writing the book, and artistic director Janice Frame and creative designer Camila Fernandez are helping design the guidebook. The lesson plans in the book were written by educators and writers from 32 different countries and 15 different U.S. states. 

“The need to respond is critical. It is essential to build awareness and resilience, social- emotional development, cultural competency, and empower all students to reach their potential and embrace new perspectives. The issues of immigration, the causes of mass migration, forced family separations, and detention of children seeking asylum, are complex,” the guidebook’s mission statement reads. “Yet, delving into these subjects can counter ignorance and help all students gain insights into problems they face daily, and transfer new awareness to creatively seek positive solutions. It is through the creative interactions in the classroom that the arts provide to all students — from the most vulnerable to the most privileged — that attitudes transform to overcome fear and bring compassion, empathy, and hope for the future.”