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This fall, students, teachers, and administrators will return to schools that are becoming increasingly international in population. What better time than back-to-school to find ways to incorporate geography into the curriculum? This September, we're providing you with tools to make it a cinch, such as our PTA planning kit, a 21st Century Geography Skills Map, and our new GeoMentor Program. Also, as you celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month this September, look ahead to our own flagship celebration: Geography Awareness Week. From November 15–21, participate in the theme, "Get Lost in Mapping: Find Your Place in the World." [Plus, here's a "heads up"—in November's newsletter I am going to challenge all 90,000 of you to ask just one additional friend to join My Wonderful World to help us reach a total of 100,000 members!]

Christopher Shearer, My Wonderful World (MWW) Director
Is Your School Ready?
Photo:It's that time of year again. The days are gradually getting shorter, and here at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., we just experienced our first week of cool weather after a characteristically steamy August. As geographers attuned to Earth's cycles, we recognize the signals that fall is on the way. Time to hit the books!

As schools across the nation prepare for a year of tight budgets and the possibility of a second swine flu outbreak, are they preparing students to respond to such 21st-century challenges? Will your child have the knowledge and skills necessary for citizenship in a global society? Use our global schools checklist to find out if your center of learning makes the grade. Then, complete our September challenge: Organize a meeting of your local parent-teacher association to review how well your community's schools are teaching geography and related subjects. Our PTA planning kit makes it easy!
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Photo: sidebarThe Partnership for 21st Century Skills, with the help of My Wonderful World Coalition member the National Council for Geographic Education, has produced a new map to illustrate the intersection between 21st Century skills and geography. This must-have resource for teachers and administrators at every grade level highlights specific skills, interdisciplinary themes, and student outcomes critical to 21st-century global learning.

New GeoMentor Program
Photo: sidebarAre you a professional who uses geography in your career and would like to reach out to school groups? Or are you an educator interested in working with a professional geographer? The new GeoMentor Program from National Geographic and ESRI will help you make the connection!
D.C. Summit for Teachers and Students
Photo: sidebarWhat if your students could experience the nation's capital through the eyes of a National Geographic explorer, scientist, or photojournalist? National Geographic Student Expeditions seeks teachers to participate in the first-annual D.C. Summit, a series of weeklong springtime programs for middle school and high school students and their teachers. Teachers interested in the spring 2010 D.C. Summit are invited to apply to attend the free, expenses-paid D.C. Summit Teacher Conference, October 23–25, 2009, in Washington, D.C.
International Literacy Day
Photo: sidebarOn September 9 we celebrated International Literacy Day, a global recognition of the importance of reading and education. Books have the power to unite us and transport us to distant locales. Help your students learn about faraway places and peoples with these "Growing Up Around the World" literature lists from the American Library Association, which are organized by country and continent.
ePals Take Classrooms Global
Photo: sidebarConnecting with kids across the globe is a great way for students to practice written and cross-cultural communication skills, as well as collaborative group work. ePals pairs classrooms around the world to take on innovative projects. Visit the website today to learn about a range of opportunities for enriching student learning.
Geotourism Contest Winners
Photo: sidebarAshoka Changemakers and the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations are pleased to announce the 2009 Geotourism Challenge contest winners. Visit the website to see which of the inspiring projects you voted for came out on top. Thanks for supporting this exciting work!
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Photo:Es el Mes de la Herencia Hispana
It's Hispanic Heritage Month! From September 15–October 15, we celebrate Latin American culture and history, including the independence days of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Chile.

Did you know that an estimated 42.9 million Americans are of Hispanic origin? Check out this Facts for Features sheet from the U.S. Census for more intriguing statistics.

Learn more about Latino culture and the accomplishments of Hispanic individuals: Biography.com features profiles of icons such as Frida Kahlo, Pancho Villa, Fidel Castro, and Jennifer Lopez, as well as a fun Latino Trivia Game. The Smithsonian Latino Center offers a range of opportunities and multimedia, including a Virtual Gallery and an exhibition called "DIVEDCO," an exploration into Puerto Rican art for social change in the mid-20th century.

Don't miss the ALMA Awards on September 18, a special event honoring Hispanic heritage and its influence on American culture. And while you're learning about new world regions, remember that My Wonderful World's Top 10 Ways to Give Kids the World is available en Español!
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Take Action
Photo:U.S. Schools See Growth in Minority Enrollments
The United States has long been a melting pot, and recent reports indicate that this is having a dramatic effect on the face of American schools. According to a the to study from the to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of racial- or ethnic-minority students increased from 22% to 44% of public school enrollments from 1972 to 2007. This effect has been most pronounced on the West Coast, but all areas of the country have experienced a similar trend.

Apropos to our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the report states that Hispanics have accounted for the majority of growth. Today, more than 1 in 5 American students identify as Hispanic, up from just 6% in 1972. The same study found that the number of students ages 9–17 who spoke a language other than English at home grew from 9–20% of the population; 75% of those students spoke Spanish. And a 2009 Pew report reveals that suburban schools are educating a greater share of minority students, who had primarily attended urban schools in previous decades. To learn more about the changing composition of U.S. student populations, read the reports at the National Center for Education Statistics, the New York Times, and the Pew Hispanic Center.
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Take Action
Travel to Costa Rica With a National Geographic Explorer
Join National Geographic fellow and marine biologist Enric Sala as he travels to Cocos Island off the coast of Costa Rica as part of National Geographic's Ocean Now project—a series of exploration, research, and conservation expeditions that aim to find, survey, and help protect the last healthy, undisturbed places in the ocean.

Starting September 9 and running through October 1, classrooms will be able to see photos, videos, and stories from Enric's team as they blog from an area known for hundreds of swarming hammerheads and rich in pirate folklore. Each week, the blog will touch on four themes created to blend in with your school's curriculum, including scientific inquiry, food webs and ecology, technology of ocean exploration, and the history of the protected area around Cocos Island. Students and educators will be able to submit questions to the research team, which will be answered through the daily blog.

To join this expedition, email OceanEd@ngs.org and you will receive instructions on how to register your classroom.
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