School Outreach and Educational Partnerships

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As reflected in the AFS-USA Strategic Plan 2017, AFS-USA is committed to strengthening its profile in the educational community and aligning its profile with the interests of schools with particular regard to the Global Competencies recently endorsed by the National Education Association.

The AFS-USA web page contains a variety of tools for educators that we encourage volunteers to take advantage of sharing with the school leaders they liaise with. See link: Via this portal you will find ways to support the US Department of Education's International Strategy, titled Succeeding Globally Through International Education and Engagement (web page houses these documents)

Of particular importance is the Global Classroom Newsletter which we encourage educators and volunteers to sign up for at:

Please reference the Outreach to Educators Advisory Page on the wiki for more information on the work of this group.




“The benefits of study abroad are almost endless. First of all, it's going to makeyou much more marketable here in the United States, because more and more companies are realizing that they need people with experiences around the world, who can speak different languages, who can transition easily into other cultures and people who bring to their jobs a sensibility and a sensitivity for other people.” – First Lady Michelle Obama

Foster Outreach to Educators in your AFS team, through targeted outreach or hosting a workshop/seminar for educators and administrators! Grant money is available to AFS Volunteer Teams to plan an Outreach to Educators Event (OEE) in your AFS team, through targeted, global learning outreach or hosting a workshop/seminar on global competency through intercultural learning (ICL) for educators and administrators!

OEE grant proposals will only be accepted that demonstrate how to promote educator-led programs for area teams. Volunteer teams are encouraged to work with their local TDS’ on developing a plan. Proposals can be found at the New Product Development/School Outreach and Educational Partnerships (NPD/SOEP) table in the NVA Marketplace, The AFS Wiki, or by contacting

Grant Highlights:

 Area Teams will be awarded a grant of $500 - $1,500 for their event

 OEE Events to take place in September or October 2015 to lead up to International Education Week 2015 ( November 14-18, 2016)

 Focus on promoting AFS study abroad programs and ICL through events with educators

 Events should encourage teachers to sign up for AFS Programs and intercultural learning resources (s) and raise awareness of AFS’ connection to global competence through intercultural learning

 Area teams are expected to promote their events through social media, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or even in local newspapers, community centers, and schools – SOEP and M&C will work with grant recipients on developing a marketing plan (at least 6-8 weeks before the scheduled event takes place)

 Events should highlight the Institute of International Education’s (IIE’s) Generation Study Abroad Teacher Campaign1

 Exciting grant contest - for those area teams who get a teacher to sign up for an educator-led program, an AFS area team member can go on a program for FREE

Proposals are due on MONDAY, April 18, 2016

Grantees will be informed by MONDAY, May 16TH.

“The goal of our OEE event was to raise the profile of AFS beyond the traditional social science fields associated with study abroad, and explain how we can fit any program into their classroom curricula. We met with quite a few new educators who showed great interest in our programs and working with us in the future." – Finger Lakes AFS Area Team


Based on the enthusiasm and feedback from volunteers who attended the Outreach to Educators Conference in Kansas City in October 2011, as well as the success of the OEE grants over the past 3 years.

AFS-USA’s Outreach to Educators Advisory Group (OEAG) and School Outreach and Educational Partnerships (SOEP) unit has secured funding in 2014 for volunteer teams interested in formalizing more outreach to educators in their teams. This could be in the form of organizing gatherings and activities related to AFS-USA’s new STEM-X group programs, or hosting a seminar/workshop with and for educators and administrators in their respective team areas (or with multiple teams in a relatively close geographic area).

The objective of arranging these varying types of outreach activities is to raise the profile of AFS as a relevant and valuable global learning/intercultural education resource and to improve relationships with educators and administrators. OEAG/SOEP recognizes that, due to the decentralized education systems and varying levels and types of relationships that AFS volunteers have with educators across the country, one approach will not work across the country – as evidenced in previous events, that ranged from student presentations, teacher professional development workshops to tabling at targeted educator events. Rather, we are encouraging volunteer teams to come forward with creative and innovative suggestions for what would work and what could be helpful to their outreach efforts in their respective teams.


Interested volunteer teams can either contact one of the staff listed below to brainstorm on ideas for their team, or can directly submit a proposal (application form attached) to OEAG/SOEP no later than Monday, June 2nd, 2014 to Volunteer team leaders who are interested in exploring ideas with other volunteers on how they could create a plan and involve an educator in the planning are encouraged to attend a webinar on Wednesday, May 21st, at 1:00 P.M EST.

Volunteers submitting the grant request should be prepared for a phone conversation with an OEAG/SOEP member to discuss the application’s purpose and intended impact. Grant applications will be approved by Monday, June 15th, by OEAG/SOEP. Grant-funded activities are expected to take place sometime in September-November 2014, to gear up for International Education Week (November 14-18, 2015). Grant recipients from 2013 and 2015 are welcome to re-apply, but special consideration will be given to new grant applications.

As it is currently the time of year to be planning for school related outreach for 2014-2015, with school calendars now being formed, we recommend that interested volunteer teams start considering ideas and dates as soon as possible. We suggest that volunteers involve a STEM educator or administrator in the planning of their outreach activity/event, as having an educator with connections and an understanding of how things really work inside the school/district could be very helpful in getting ownership and attracting participation.

We encourage the idea of linking outreach activities to existing events or special dates that are already established and recognized in schools, such as International Education Week, International Days, Global Youth Service Day, Teacher Appreciation Days, etc. It is also recommended that teams look into already scheduled teacher professional development or education workshops, and consider piggy-backing onto these kinds of opportunities or teacher training/in-service activities.

 Suggested Topics for OEE Events:'

o Service learning

o Global education

o ICL through arts & technology''

o Human rights and cultural understanding

o Suggestions for other categories welcome, other categories to be determined.

- These topics should incorporate how AFS study abroad programs support 21st century skills: Communications, Critical Thinking, Creativity, and Collaboration - Emphasize that the primary audience are teachers and educational administrators (guidance counselors) for these events. Hosting workshops and other professional development sessions are ideal.

SOEP and Marketing and Communications will work with all OEE grant recipients to develop ways to use social media in publicizing the event, as well as developing press releases, etc. Marketing plans should be developed at least 6-8 weeks prior to the event.

Questions can be directed to staff working on School Outreach:

Tara Hofmann, Executive Team,

Find the 2016 OEE Application

2014 OEE Grant Information


Using IEW to Build Stronger Partnerships presentation notes

  • Intro
  1. Leveraging IEW to initiate conversation with schools
  2. Schools are aware of IEW and therefore likely to be receptive during this week
  3. Students should reference this when asking to do presentations
  • School leaders always
  1. Eager to provide exciting opportunities for their students and families
  2. Searching for ways to lift the school’s performance to higher levels
  3. Scanning the horizon for cost effective ways to energize teachers

Establishing an AFS “presence” in schools (during IEW)

  • Identify/meet key decision makers in the schools
  • Increase number of student/volunteer presentations in the schools
  • Connect w/ school personnel so there is no question WHO the AFS local volunteer is (name, face, voice, contact info) and school sees you as a resource for questions, information about all things AFS!

Preparing to approach schools – Volunteer’s preparation

  • Students / host families /liaisons
  1. Communicate w/ students & host families about importance of making presentations – students begin to schedule their talks now
  2. Provide concrete aids to students to help in planning the presentations (Link in Resources - see IEW)
  3. Provide local tips on re where/ when to speak
  4. Encourage students to include comments re both hosting & study abroad in their presentations - have a sign up sheet
  5. Know beforehand if a hosted student’s performance is weak or if serious support issues exist – not specifics just IF
  • School
  1. Ask yourself, “What do I already know about this school? What do I need to learn?” (# hosted, gate keeper, deadlines, counselor’s attitude re sending, policies, school/ district goals, most effective way to communicate))
  2. Do Homework re who to speak to (principal, registrar, secretary, counselor, AP, teacher) & what role each plays
  • AFS
  1. Familiarize self w/ AFS school materials – especially Educator Packet (link in Resources) & Sponsored Program scholarship information
  2. “Did You Know?” Study abroad recruitment for vols!!
  3. Order marketing materials NOW (Link in Resources)

Visiting schools

  • Meet people
  1. Be friendly w/ everyone – you may discover an advocate for AFS unexpectedly!
  2. Make note of names!
  • Ask Questions / Listen carefully
  1. Do you know our AFS student who is here this year?
  2. How many exchange students are accepted each year?
  3. Accept from a variety of programs or only AFS?
  4. What is the process for acceptance?
  5. How have things gone in the past – Share successes, achievements, challenges, problems?
  6. Does the school accept F1 students?
  7. WWho makes the final decision on accepting a student?
  8. Have students gone abroad from this school?
  9. Have students won scholarships to go abroad?
  10. Do teachers actively sponsor trips abroad with students? Where?
  11. Are any teachers AFS/exchange returnees; Ask who has the “travel bug”?
  12. Where is your school in incorporating the Common Core Standards into the curriculum? On P21 skills? How can AFS partner w/ the school in its work?
  • Interact with teachers & mention specifics
  1. “Teacher’s Toolbox – Intercultural Activities” - an example, "Connect the Dots" (Link in Resources)
  2. “Teacher’s Toolbox – Global Competency Resources” -a compilation of various websites – some are AFS specific (Link in resources)
  3. ICL Terminology (Link in Resources)
  4. P21 Common Core Toolkit (Link in Resources)
  • Materials to take
  1. Educator’s Packet (Include your own business card or write your name, phone, email on the inside of the packet)
  2. Fliers with tear-off tags that can be posted in classrooms and hallways w/ local phone # (leave for educators to post or ask where you may post)
  3. Brochures on NSLI-Y; YES-A (Link in Resources)
  4. Maps of where AFS sends to and from (Link in Resources)

Presenting the integrated view of AFS

  • Hosting, Study Abroad, and Educator resources
  1. Most schools know hosting so enter conversation w/ “I want to share some information about national scholarships to study abroad your students are eligible to compete for.” Give info on NSLI-Y, YES-A, CB (if in NE), – then parlay into other study abroad opportunities
  2. Seque into teacher opportunities for traveling either alone or in a customized trip with a group - emphasize pick where, when, what you want your group to see, do, learn
  3. Curriculum talk - teacher resources for ICL, Common Core, P21
  4. Infuse these words & phrases into your conversation:PARTNER- WORK WITH- WHAT DOES YOUR SCHOOL WANT/NEED? (check school goals) - - WHAT WORKS IN THIS COMMUNITY?

Following-up with schools

  • Thanks to schools where students gave presentations
  1. Letter/email to principal thanking him/her for accepting placement of AFS students & allowing student to share culture w/ classmates
  2. Include information about study abroad opportunities & teacher opportunities;
  3. Mention Common Core standards and P21 skills
  4. Ask “How can AFS partner with your school as you work on the common core standards and help your students develop 21st century skills?”
  • Email any counselor, teacher, admin who was present during a presentation or played a role in welcoming the presentation – mention other AFS opportunities for students studying abroad, for teacher to design programs to travel abroad, or materials for teachers to use in the classroom
  • Keep school personnel informed of achievements of AFS students

School Presentation Tools and Resources

  • Utilize the opportunity to promote Government Sponsored Scholarships in your portfolio when presenting to schools, per the following sending links:

Sponsored Programs for Sending, Sponsored Programs for Hosting

School Relations Tools and Resources

School Relations Best Practices

School Relations Training Resources

School Relationships Online Learning Module

In the Global Link Online Learning Center, there is an online learning module for volunteers and staff, entitled "School Relationships." Completing of this module will introduce you to some best practices for developing long-lasting relationships with school officials, so as to support AFS Hosting and Sending program activity.

To access this module, click this link, or log-in to your Global Link account and click the "Resources" tab in order to access the AFS-USA Online Learning Center.

In addition, there are periodic online training webinars for working with schools to promote sending programs, as well as a number of other topics. These webinars are open to any interested volunteer. More information can be found on the Sending Training page.

See Also

Personal tools