Mark Day School
39 Trellis Drive
San Rafael, CA 94903

Cross-Cultural Literacy

Throughout our program, foundational skills and competencies in traditional disciplines are interwoven with four cross-disciplinary "literacies": cross-cultural literacy; ecological literacy; media and information literacy; and social, emotional, and ethical literacy. Teachers integrate them in their own ways, and students often take the lead on an issue they feel passionate about, such as carpooling or energy use on campus.

At the heart of Mark Day School's mission lies a commitment to prepare every student to live, work, and lead in the increasingly interconnected world of the 21st century. As members of a diverse, inclusive, and socially responsible community, it is our privilege, as well as our responsibility, to encourage our students to reach beyond their own community and to understand and embrace the inextricable links that exist among people everywhere.

Mark Day School continues to develop an intentional program that teaches the essential skills and builds the competencies that promote personal growth and contribute to the common good locally and globally.

Through our formalized partnerships, as well as via individual classroom-to-classroom connections, our reciprocal relationships afford our students unique opportunities to:

  • Investigate and experience the richness of multiple perspectives.
  • Navigate differences and embrace change.
  • Understand what we have to learn and what we have to share.
  • Recognize and explore the impact that access to resources and opportunities has on our lives.
  • Collaborate and seek solutions to local and global challenges.
  • Value compassion, fairness, and empathy, and pursue equity and justice.

During the 2018-19 school year, we were fortunate enough to host delegations from our three global partner schools on the Mark Day campus.

Kliptown Youth Program (KYP), South Africa

On October 8, we were thrilled to host a delegation of four middle school students, two college students, and three administrators from our partner school in South Africa, Kliptown Youth Program (KYP). The delegation spent most of their time in the music room, where they taught students traditional South African songs and drumming techniques. They also visited classrooms for special projects. For example, in 1st grade, they led an activity that explored a day in the life of a student in Soweto, South Africa, as part of their unit on South Africa, and in drama class, they focused on the art of storytelling. On Wednesday evening, the Mark Day community was treated to a dance performance by the delegation in the amphitheater.

Pan-American School, Costa Rica

The Pan-American delegation consisted of 15 students and three teachers. It was their 5th visit to the Mark Day campus since the beginning of our partnership. At assembly, they introduced themselves and presented us with a plaque to commemorate the occasion.

For one day, we had both delegations from KYP and Pan-American on campus. It was a wonderful opportunity for them to learn from and teach one another. Pan-American students were delighted to learn the gumboot dance and traditional South African drumming.

During their visit, Pan-American students participated in a variety of activities across many grade levels, including community engagement with Upper Division students, making gratitude trees with 1st graders, and teaching 2nd, 3rd, and 6th grade Spanish classes.

Mark Day students weren't the only ones who worked alongside members of the Pan-American delegation. Teachers from Pan-American participated in professional development featuring Lynn Lyons, an international speaker who specializes in teen anxiety.

Er Xiao, Beijing

In late January 2019, we hosted our 3rd student delegation from Er Xiao, our partner school in Beijing. The delegation consisted of 29 students and teachers. For the first time, these middle school students shadowed Mark Day students in class. They also participated in separate activities like a chain reaction activity in the Creativity Lab and an SEL workshop with School Counselor Theresa Hall. "There were many opportunities for collaboration," says Fernanda Pernambuco, Director of Cross-Cultural Partnerships and Community Engagement. "Er Xiao students worked with 1st graders on a projects on happiness and with 6th graders on a collaborative STEM activity." Their visit also gave Mark Day students opportunities to become leaders. "The third graders in particular really took on that role to make sure their buddies knew where to go each day." On the final day of their visit, Er Xiao students treated the community to a special talent assembly and presented their science projects to Lower School students and 8th graders.

Students will independently use their learning to:

  • Reach beyond their own community, culture, and national borders to investigate and experience the richness of human cultures.
  • Live, learn, work, and form meaningful relationships with people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Recognize the unique cultural lens through which each person sees the world.
  • Seek out multiple points of view when problem solving, producing creative works, and pursuing truth.
  • Participate in designing systems and solutions to local and global challenges that serve the common good and embrace the inextricable links that exist among people everywhere.
  • Discern and question in all aspects of their lives how cultural bias, difference, and access to resources impact human experience, social dynamics, and local/world events.