Part 4 of a five-part series about the Academy’s strategic plan
Fads come and go in education. They can spread like wildfire, both in instruction and curriculum. Unfortunately, it appears that “15 minutes of fame” for global education has expired in many schools throughout the country. The new (and besieged) Common Core curriculum being devised for our nation’s public schools shows a disappointing lack of appreciation for global understanding.
Not so for Academy students during the next three years, and beyond! We are in the process of developing global citizens. As the last phrase of our Mission Statement cites, “In our commitment to excellence, we provide tools, develop character, and teach skills that prepare students to thrive in college and beyond, thereby contributing to the betterment of our global and local communities.”
We know that students who have been trained to read literature and study history through a global lens, and who are fluent in multiple languages before they enter college, will possess an enriched learning and be best prepared for success in a rapidly integrating and competitive world.
We are very fortunate that our school community is a “global village.” Currently, our student body draws from 27 school districts and six counties in the midstate, representing families of all socioeconomic, racial, religious, and geographic backgrounds. One-third of our population is ethnically and internationally diverse. All students benefit automatically and immediately from this advantage.
Daily interaction and work with students of international origin and international students expose our students and our broader community to a fuller understanding of world cultures. Note — to realize this, you only have to reflect on the large turnout at our annual International Fair, a favorite event that reflects our school’s culture and identity.
What can you expect during the next three years with regard to our commitment to global understanding?
We’ll use our membership in the International Baccalaureate worldwide network of schools to maximize opportunities for all Academy students to have more interaction with students in other parts of the world. For our Upper School students, for example, this will mean opportunities for travel. Service and study beyond the United States provide experiential learning that deepens global understanding. It’s for these reasons, Mary Toth and Amy Miller (two directors of our Centers for Experiential Learning & Innovation) led a service-learning and study trip to Costa Rica this March. This new opportunity now exists in addition to the fabulous opportunities we provide for IB Merit Scholars to travel overseas between their junior and senior years!
The Internet, of course, allows for virtual travel and digital connections. Whether it’s via our Early Childhood and Lower School Learning Links program or our unique Current Global Issues course in 8th grade, our students will continue to be introduced to the wonders of the world and will be engaged in conversations in the classroom representative of all voices as a result of their diverse classmates.
As parents yearn for “something more and something different” for their children’s education, we’ll provide meaningful educational opportunities for students to embrace those worldly wonders. Our commitment to global understanding is here to stay.