A Few Words Mean So Much- A teacher shares what we do…

A Few Words Mean So Much- A teacher shares what we do…

At ConnecTeach, we know we’re making a difference in the lives of the teachers we train and in turn, in the lives of the students they teach. It’s always good to hear our mission affirmed though the words of the teachers themselves.

We just received this note we’d like to share:

“Bhavani and Amy-

Thank you so much for all your hard work and kind support to us. I really appreciate your heart and passion towards education. I really salute for your courage to change the attitude of the teachers in the teaching field.

I am very grateful to God for giving us the right people in our life to guide us. In school, we have changed in many ways. Thanks for showing us the right path to lead the school.

For me, it’s difficult to pick what I liked best [from the workshops]. All the trainings I like very much… I enjoyed a lot & learnt a lot. Once again, a BIG THANK YOU for all your support and love.”

– Kala Vathi, principal, Hope Foundation CA Study Centre School, Hyderabad

Join ConnecTeach to Discuss Education as a Human Right

Join ConnecTeach to Discuss Education as a Human Right


The International Conference on Education as a Human Right
Southern Methodist University
Saturday, March 28, 2015
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

The Embrey Human Rights Program, ConnecTeach, and the World Affairs Council Dallas Fort Worth will host international and national experts addressing the critical issues impacting education which include:
•  Poverty and Education
•  Gender Equity and Education
•  Race and Education
•  Disability and Education

Lunch will be provided for $10.00.

Please register through this website link:

High Schools that would like to attend, but bring a sack lunch instead, may register at NO cost throughjbowden@dfwworld.org.

The Delta Kappa Gamma Educational Foundation Backs ConnecTeach

The Delta Kappa Gamma Educational Foundation Backs ConnecTeach

We at ConnecTeach are thrilled to announce that we’ve received funding from The Delta Kappa Gamma Educational Foundation for our project, Empowering the Next Generation. This grant funding supports our work with the slum schools in Noida, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Mumbai.

The Educational Foundation awarded $99,830 to fund 27 educational projects in communities around the world. We are honored that we were selected to be among those grant recipients.

The Educational Foundation supports and encourages intercultural understanding and educational excellence. Established in 1964, the Foundation is a non-profit organization located in The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International Headquarters in Austin, Texas. The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, established in 1929, is an honor organization for women educators in 18 countries.


Bhavani Parpia Honored with Inaugural ‘Triumph of the Spirit’ Award

Bhavani Parpia Honored with Inaugural ‘Triumph of the Spirit’ Award

DALLAS (SMU) — Peruvian champion of indigenous women’s rights Eliana Elias and innovative global-minded local educator Bhavani Parpia will be honored at SMU Nov. 12 as the first two recipients of Embrey Human Rights Program Triumph of the Spirit Awards. The awards carry a combined $30,000 in funding for the recipients made possible by an anonymous supporter of SMU’s undergraduate human rights program.

The inaugural Triumph of the Spirit event will include a 7 p.m. dinner in the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom and 6 p.m. courtyard reception. The evening will feature thought-provoking interviews with Elias, Parpia and other human rights leaders, a mix of music and spoken-word performances and a compelling array of mixed-media art by past and present Embrey Human Rights Program students.

Reserved tables and individual tickets for the event are available at various sponsorship levels. For details, visit https://sites.smu.edu/apps/events/triumphofthespirit/tickets.asp or contact 214-768-3241 or kleinb@smu.edu.

The Triumph of the Spirit Awards aim to “reward people doing great work for others, sometimes at great risk to themselves,” says Embrey Human Rights Program Director Rick Halperin. “The awards represent a microcosm of life-changing work being done locally and around the world on issues affecting everyone. The awards also are meant to give us all hope that change can be made even by small steps of awareness and action.”

Elias and Parpia were selected for Triumph of the Spirit Awards from among several dozen human rights defenders nominated for providing selfless work on behalf of individuals and communities. The award selection committee, comprised of 19 SMU faculty and staff members, University alumni and regional community leaders and activists, chose Elias and Parpia for work best exemplifying the missions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Embrey Human Rights Program.

The Embrey Human Rights Program was created in 2006 as the result of a gift from the Embrey Family Foundation of Dallas. By 2012 SMU would become the fifth university in the nation and the first one west of Ohio to offer an undergraduate human rights degree.

Montessori teacher Bhavani Parpia is founder of the educational nonprofit ConnecTeach, helping underserved communities in South Asia and the Middle East improve the quality of education for hundreds of thousands of children one teacher at a time.

Parpia also serves as district world languages coordinator for the Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District (HEB ISD), where she develops and oversees Arabic, Chinese and Hindi programs.

Before joining HEB ISD, Parpia founded the Primary School at North Hills Preparatory in Irving. Under her leadership, North Hills was ranked 13th-best performing school in the U.S., and in 2013, she received the World Affairs Council International Educator of the Year award.

Parpia has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Hindu College/Delhi University and a master’s degree in sociology from Virginia Tech.

Presenting the regional Triumph of the Spirit Award to Parpia will be S.M. Wright II, president/CEO of the S.M. Wright Foundation, which since 1998 has provided food, financial and social service support to inner-city children and families in need. The South Dallas pastor and civic leader is the son of the late Civil Rights pioneer Rev. S.M. Wright.

Serving as moderator of the Triumph of the Spirit Awards event will be Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bob Ray Sanders.

Sanders’ reporting work has earned him a regional Emmy Award and also garnered awards from the National Association of Black Journalists; the Houston, New York and Chicago film festivals; the Dallas Press Club; and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Offering creative expressions of music and spoken word will be Will Richey, Alejandro Perez Jr., and David Rodriguez of Journeyman Ink; the eclectic ensemble-in-residence at SMU Meadows School of the Arts Brazen Brass 5 (featuring five SMU students and alumni) and SMU student, opera singer, poet and dancer Maya Jones.

The Triumph of the Spirit Award is an iron elliptical sculpture with concentric rings around a circular core. Each award is engraved with the award winner’s name and the motto of the Embrey Human Rights Program, “There is no such thing as a lesser person.”

“The award symbolizes the interconnected spirit of humanitarians around the world, and that the community effort to work for peace is never-ending,” says Embrey Human Rights Program Assistant Director Bradley Klein. The rings represent different spheres in which such people as women’s rights activists, lawyers, physicians, and those fighting against torture work to uphold human rights.

“It is a tremendous honor to receive this award. My hope is that it helps bring awareness of our mission of quality education in the world’s poorest communities, as well as to inspire others to action in human rights causes,” said Ms. Parpia.

ConnecTeach is a non-profit organization that provides quality professional development for teachers in underserved schools around the world. Their highly-qualified volunteer educators provide teachers in these schools the tools they need to create stimulating learning environments, including on-site professional development, mentoring and certification in effective teaching practices. ConnecTeach contributes directly to the odds of success in the global fight against poverty by training and supporting teachers dedicated to the success of students in the world’s poorest communities.

ConnecTeach at CARE Seminar: Addressing Equity Issues in Education

ConnecTeach at CARE Seminar: Addressing Equity Issues in Education

CARE India’s seminar, “Addressing Equity Issues in Education” kicks off January 29 with an aim to provide a platform for a discourse on highlighting and addressing educational equity issues and challenges vis-a-vis teacher preparation and development; among policy makers, practitioners, civil society representatives and researchers in the region. Leading national and international experts and practitioners will share, debate and discuss issues derived from cutting edge research and evidence based practices. The ultimate goal is to make specific recommendations to promote evidence based practices and teaching – learning processes in India.

Bhavani Parpia, ConnecTeach President, will speak on the topic of Understanding how to Address Issues of Equity through Teacher Education, in which she’ll explore what teacher training models and methodologies are effective in bringing changes in teachers’ beliefs and practices.

The three-day seminar will cover:

  1. Issues of Inequity in our Education system
  2. Getting to the Roots: What are the barriers towards achieving equity in our education system? (Two parallel sessions)
  3. School-based approaches in promoting Equity and Diversity
  4. Understanding how to address issues of Equity through Teacher Education
  5. Addressing issues of Equity through Teacher Support Structures: Sharing Experiences/ Strategies
  6. Towards Possible Strategies for taking forward the Equity Agenda (Two Parallel sessions )
  7. VII. Community Involvement Towards Greater Equity
  8. VIII. Strengthening monitoring and accountability mechanisms to ensure equity targets (Panel Discussion)

“The challenges to achieving equity in education in India are complex and entrenched, but not impossible to overcome. ConnecTeach is thrilled to be a part of the important conversation that will take place at this seminar and we look forward to coming away with a shared understanding of what we must do to achieve equity in education.” said Ms. Parpia.

10 Important Statistics About Education in India

Announcing Our Online Teacher Professional Development Series

Announcing Our Online Teacher Professional Development Series

ConnecTeach will launch it first online teacher professional development series in its CloudConnecT™ classrooms in early 2014.

Our online partners are primarily from underserved schools in countries and regions of the world that otherwise would not have ready access to on-site professional development. Thanks to the generous support from Donna Wilhelm Foundation, we will be able to connect online with schools in Palestine, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Any school serving children from impoverished communities are welcome to join the CloudConnecT classrooms. Please email Bhavani at bhavaniparpia@connecteach.org, to learn how you can be a part of our global consortium of educators.

Our online courses, taught by highly experienced master teachers,  include:

  • Questioning Strategies- Structure class discussions to develop deeper levels of student thinking. 
  • Differentiated Instruction for Struggling Readers – Support struggling readers through tools and techniques to accelerate reading skills.
  • Differentiated Instruction for Struggling Students in Math- Support students who struggle to grasp math concepts with tools and techniques to increase conceptual understanding and math fact fluency. 
  • Differentiated Instruction for Advanced Readers- Develop strategies to engage advanced readers in class. 
  • Differentiated Instruction for Advanced Students in Math – Develop strategies to engage students who are advanced in math.
  • Strategies for English Language Learners- Develop strategies to support and facilitate English language acquisition for students who are learning English as a foreign language.
  • Oral Communication Strategies- Develop oral communication for better collaboration with colleagues as well as increased language proficiency for students. 
  • Inquiry-Based Lesson Planning- Create lesson plans to build a student-centered classroom to guide deeper levels of thinking and student engagement. 
  • Reading to Think: Strategies for Comprehension- Teach students to think during reading to build a deeper level of understanding of what they read. 
  • Thinking to Read: Strategies for Decoding- Teach students to use strategies to decode words to facilitate self-directed readers. 
  • Writing to Think: Purposeful Writing- Teach students to use writing for a variety of purposes and understand different writing structures. Module will include writing across the curriculum. 
  • Thinking to Write: The Writing Process – Teach students the steps of the writing process to increase quality of student writing. 
  • Science Discoveries for Elementary Students – Engage students in science concepts through scientific discoveries. 
  • The Scientific Method for Secondary Students – Engage students in the scientific method using innovative techniques and activities. 
  • Classroom Management: Rules and Routines- Structure your classroom using a student- centered positive disciplinary approach.
  • Engagement Strategies – Create a student-centered learning environment using strategies to engage all students. 
  • Formative and Summative Assessments – Create benchmarks to track student progress using formative and summative assessments. 
  • Designing and Implementing Rubrics for Assessment – Develop rubrics as an assessment tool and learn how to implement them in your classroom.
  • Administration: Leading Collaboration – Create an environment of professional collaboration. 
  • Administration: Supervision- Ensure quality teaching is happening in your school through effective supervision techniques.

ConnecTeach partners with CARE India!

ConnecTeach partners with CARE India!

ConnecTeach has entered into a two-year partnership with CARE India to design an accelerated program of English teaching and learning. We will provide training to their teachers and teacher trainers to implement effective instructional practices in three states in India, impacting their Girls’ Education program, targeting marginalized children, in several states. In Uttar Pradesh, our partnership with CARE will help improve the quality of education in over 4,500 schools, reaching over 800,000 children. In Orissa and Bihar, we will help support CARE’s education programs, impacting over 6,500 children.

Impression, Influence, and Impact: Why I Volunteer for ConnecTeach

Impression, Influence, and Impact: Why I Volunteer for ConnecTeach

By Amy Merk 

As confirmation numbers and departure times get set for our second ConnecTeach adventure, I have begun to reflect on what our first trip meant for me. It’s taken me almost a year to realize it, but ConnecTeach really has changed my professional life forever as an educator. In the first month, as I got back and started getting my own classroom ready, the first trip was an opportunity to “give back”, “make a difference”, and use other such well-intentioned clichés, which made a good impression in the faculty lounge. After we got feedback from the teachers we visited, my experience became more than just a conversation topic- I was a positive influence on other teachers. What I didn’t expect was that this week, I would feel the true impact that ConnecTeach has made on me.

If anyone saw me in my classroom that morning before school, they might have thought I had finally lost it. I was giggling out loud as I cut strips of paper, folded them up, and put them in jars.

During March and April, the faint smell of number two pencils on scantrons becomes a stronger and more frequent sense memory. You can see a change in the faculty in many schools across the US. Still dedicated, still determined to engage, but somewhat doubtful. Will I get my students to where they need to be? Will my students’ test scores reflect the growth that I know they have made? The never-ending push toward rigor leaves some with rigor mortis. The brightly colored bulletin boards created by energetic hands back in August have now dulled.

At ConnecTeach, we believe that students should be engaged in meaningful learning. Students should be allowed to develop thinking skills through cooperative learning and multi-sensory experiences. I greet my students with a smile as I try to enact lesson plans I developed based on these very principles. But Tuesday, all I saw all day long were tired, discouraged faces- from my students, from my colleagues, and even from myself as I caught my reflection in a trophy case proudly displaying our test score performance from last year.

And then…Wednesday morning at 4 am- it happened. I jumped out of bed and yelled “I have to practice what I teach!!!!!”

In July, I remember standing in front of a captive audience at the Hope School in Hyderabad, telling the teachers how important it was to empower students to take responsibility for their own learning. We got the teachers up and moving to demonstrate learning as an active process, and that teaching, also an active process, must be an act of constant reflection and growth. “Teaching is an art and a science,” I had told them,  “a profession where creativity meets trial and error.” This was all going through my mind as I got ready for work on Wednesday, knowing what I had to do.

If anyone saw me in my classroom that morning before school, they might have thought I had finally lost it. I was giggling out loud as I cut strips of paper, folded them up, and put them in jars. Ten minutes before the bell, I delivered my gifts. I gave the fifth and sixth grade math teachers each a jar of bad math jokes. By eleven o’clock, I had performed a reminder rap about rules and procedures to 25 sixth graders. After lunch, I caught a student making a flip-book in his math journal during class. Expecting me to reproach him for off-task behavior, he looked a bit puzzled when I enlisted him to make one demonstrating the division process we were learning (he was more than happy to oblige).

I really don’t know how many test scores I increased on Wednesday. What I do know is that I saw about forty more smiles than I had seen the day before. If school is a place where teachers and students want to be, there is engagement. Where teachers and students support each other through collaboration, there is engagement. Where students realize their teachers are also learning, there is engagement. Where there is engagement, there is learning.

ConnecTeach challenged me to do what I am asking other teachers to do. It impacted me as well as many in my school on Wednesday morning in Bedford, Texas, in the same way we hope to impact schools halfway across the world. My work as a ConnecTeach volunteer is the best professional development I could ever have. As we prepare for our second trip, I hope that my fellow volunteers will get to experience this same gift, delivered at that time during the school year when we all need it the most, all for the cost of a few hours of our spare time. Thank you, ConnecTeach, for the impact you make on everyone involved in this project, especially the one you continue to make on me.

For Some Girls in India, Adolescence Brings an End to School

For Some Girls in India, Adolescence Brings an End to School

Adolescence brings changes. And those changes exacerbate the struggle to simply survive as a member of India’s most impoverished castes. Sonia Faleiro of the New York Times reports on the struggles of one girl of the Mati Wadars caste whose story is typical of far too many others.

Read the article:  New York Times