An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Charlotte Blessing, director of global education

This week, Nov. 13-17, public and private schools, higher education institutions and many state departments around the country celebrate International Education Week, an annual occurrence that draws attention to the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. Some schools and colleges host foreign movies, invite guest speakers, or discuss global programs and issues during this week. At Lakeside, we will be screening a short movie that focuses on a global issue, namely that of female genital circumcision (FGM) and forced and/or early marriages. According to data from UNICEF, close to 700 million women alive today were married as children while 200 million women were cut.

International Education Week is a great opportunity to highlight some of the ways that Lakeside provides our students with a global education. I was attracted to Lakeside because of the value the school places on providing students with a global education and preparing them to participate in a global society. I am proud to be a part of a school that offers all students in the high school the opportunity to travel to mostly nontraditional “study abroad” locations for four week service- and cultural-immersion experiences. Not all students decide to go on a GSL trip, but many do. For example, 60 percent of the class of 2017 participated in a Upper School GSL trip. That’s a significant number of students.

This school year, 30 students (16 sophomores and 14 seniors) are enrolled in yearlong courses with embedded GSL trips: 10th-grade World History with a GSL Peru trip; and an elective ecology course with a Costa Rica trip. The 2018-2019 curriculum guide (released next month) will include an advanced Spanish course with an embedded GSL trip to Nicaragua. Embedding a global component into a school-year course provides students who may not be able to go on a summer GSL trip with a global experience in addition to a class the connects classroom with experiential learning.

For the second year in a row, a GSL faculty trip to South Africa will be offered in summer 2018, providing a small group of faculty the opportunity to deepen their global understanding and awareness. I feel fortunate that our school is able to fully fund such trips and recognize that we must also provide our faculty with global learning opportunities. You can read blogs from two of the teachers that went on the trip last summer, Véronique Brau and David Joneschild.

I value that all Lakeside Middle School students must study a foreign language each year and all Upper School students study a foreign language to a minimum of level three. According to a national survey based on data from 2014-2015, only one in five United States students was enrolled in a foreign language course.

Out of our current employees, 43 faculty and staff have led a global GSL trip or visited a site. In general, I feel there is an impressive number of employees who speak more than one language, who have lived abroad, and/or are citizens of another country than the United States. And of course, Lakeside’s curriculum offers students so many courses that provide global perspectives through literature, nonfiction, films, guest speakers, etc. Plus, all sophomores participate in Model UN!

These are just a few of the areas that Lakeside offers our community the opportunity to learn about the world.