A few years ago Old Town Elementary School (OTES) reflected on their school’s role in expanding the experiences and perspectives of the students and staff in the school. They realized they had an obligation to make the community aware of the diverse cultures and countries entering through their doors each day and to create a welcoming environment for all people at OTES. With the University of Maine as the school’s neighbor, they often receive students from the University because parents are finishing their degrees or are professors.
OTES decided to put a flag up for every country represented at the school to welcome families and teach their students about the various cultures represented at the school with each of these new community members. As a result, OTES families coming to the school building feel immediately welcomed by the gesture of seeing their native country flying in the hallways of the school.
“Students and staff are so excited about another country joining this hall of flags and getting to know about the country,” said OTES Principal Jeanna Tuell. “We have found more opportunities to make connections with other countries and to celebrate our diversity.”