At GVP, what an equitable and inclusive education for refugee learners can look like.
The GVP approach is designed not just to include refugee young women, but to center their voices, backgrounds, and experiences in everything we do. Recognizing that refugee girls are often marginalized and underserved in traditional educational settings, GVP fills a critical gap. Every aspect of our approach is designed to combat barriers faced by refugee girls giving them an equal opportunity to learn and succeed.
“GVP was the first place I felt truly welcome; a place where I am not required to change to fit my environment. I can be me' and be true to myself.”
- Niza, GVP Alum
Our approach is trauma-informed, culturally responsive, and strengths-based. Culturally- responsive teaching recognizes the importance of including and centering students’ experiences, backgrounds, knowledge, and cultures in all aspects of learning.
“At GVP, the teachers are like your sister or your second mother… the minute you walk in, you feel the love… the respect, everything.”
- Khaty, GVP Alum
Trauma-informed teaching prioritizes relationships in order to better support students who have experienced trauma. This approach understands the impact that trauma can have on students and uses this understanding to design more supportive practices. Restorative practices make a pivotal shift from rules to relationships, from punishment to healing from harm.
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The four pillars of our model work together in tandem to provide the support that our students need.
Intensive English Language & Literacy
This first pillar of our model takes a strengths-based, additive approach to ELL education. English is a vital tool of empowerment for refugees as they adapt to life in the U.S. However, GVP also views students’ home languages and cultures as resources, making English another tool to add to the knowledge they already have. Our intensive curriculum meets the needs of ELL students with interrupted schooling and advances their reading levels at accelerated speeds without erasing or devaluing their home languages and cultures.
The second pillar, STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math education) takes an innovative, integrated approach to create more inclusive spaces for students to explore these areas and their related careers. In this way, we combat disparities in academic and career preparation which marginalize our students, not only because newcomers and ELL students are often underserved by STEM and STEAM programs, but also because STEM fields continue to lack women and especially women of color.
Through this program, students participate in more than 25 experiential learning trips and hands-on field trips each school year.
Additionally, GVP’s arts-integrated curriculum recognizes the importance of the Arts in learning language, building community, and developing tools for creative expression.
Social & Emotional Learning and Wellness
A commitment to Social & Emotional Learning and Wellness, the third pillar, recognizes the impact of trauma and emotional difficulties on learning and well-being. Supporting the Social and Emotional Learning and Wellness of our students not only includes actively creating space for students to learn how to navigate their emotions but also providing a range of wraparound services designed to support the holistic wellbeing of students. The Student and Family Support Team at GVP assists students with needs such as food security, access to feminine sanitary products, and health and safety guidance and supports families through home visits, transportation, and interpretation services during parent conferences, and more.
Mentoring & Alumnae Engagement
Finally, Mentoring & Alumnae Engagement, the fourth pillar, continues to center students, support them, and empower them to lead even after they have graduated from GVP. Through the guidance and support alumnae gain from their mentors and ongoing leadership opportunities, this pillar encourages students to take up the mantle of leadership and consider how they want to use their voices to create powerful change.