Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Globalizing Schools in North Carolina

By Helga Fasciano

Helga Fasciano is the Special Assistant for Global Education to the State Superintendent of Schools at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Her blog contribution below describes the recently launched global education initiative in North Carolina’s schools. Both Wisconsin and North Carolina work toward the same goal: to educate globally competent students. Strategies differ, though. Read about North Carolina’s important initiative. We will be following its success story closely.

In September 2011, the North Carolina State Board of Education (SBE) formed a Task Force on Global Education to assess the state's effort to produce "globally competitive" graduates ready to live, work, and contribute in an interconnected world. Based on feedback it received, the Task Force noted six major findings and made five commitments to take supporting action to ensure every public school student graduates fully prepared for the world. This effort focuses on assuring that students understand and appreciate other countries, languages and cultures.
Preparing Students for the World: Final Report of the State Board of Education's Task Force on Global Education Presented at the SBE Board meeting in January, 2013. 

Commitment 1: Robust and Cutting-Edge Teacher Support and Tools
1.1 - Provide content for embedding global themes and problem-based learning that focuses on global issues, including history, social studies and geography, throughout the K-12 curriculum consistent with the North Carolina Essential Standards, the North Carolina Essential Standards, and the NC Professional Teaching Standards, including guidelines specific to a global-ready designated graduation project.
1.2 - Implement an SBE-recognized badging process for teacher and administrators to support a professional development system for global content that leads to an endorsement, certificate, or other recognition with market value.
1.3 - Require teacher preparation institutions to prepare teacher candidates to use global content when implementing the North Carolina Essential Standards. This would include working with schools of education and other partners to develop modules for existing courses.

Commitment 2: Leading-edge Language Instruction
2.1 - Institute a plan for statewide access to dual language/immersion choice opportunities in public education beginning in elementary school and continuing through high school. The plan shall identify priority languages and utilize regional options including schools of choice and magnet schools.
2.2 - Partner with institutions of higher education (IHEs) and other relevant stakeholders to establish plans to increase the supply of competent K-12 World Language teachers through recruitment, production, and retention. The plans shall include strategies to maximize the numbers of educators on language staffs who have advanced proficiency including native speakers. Such a plan shall include strategies to maintain and increase the language proficiency of language teachers through on-going professional development and experiential opportunities. The plan should also include the testing of language teachers for proficiency as part of the hiring and certification process, as well as establishing a proficiency retention program.
2.3 - Refocus traditional high school credit language courses to include a greater emphasis on the study of global and international affairs and the economies, societies and cultures of other nations, along with survival language skills. The strategy developed must be capable of being implemented using existing resources, include teacher and leader professional development to enable the transition and be aligned to IHE admission requirements.

Commitment 3: New School Models
3.1 - Develop new school models focused on international education that would include, but not be limited to, the following:
·         An internationally-themed residential high school;
·         Preferences for international themes in the charter school approval process ;
·         Transformation models for low-performing schools;
·         Redesigned school-within-school models;
·         Virtual schools-within-a-school that provide technology-enabled international partnerships and instructional opportunities; and
·         Regional dual language/immersion school choices.
3.2 - Identify non-governmental partners to assist school districts and schools in the implementation of these school models.
Commitment 4: District Networking and Recognition
4.1 - Expand and enhance the NC Global Schools Network to support district implementation of global content, teacher professional development, cutting-edge language instruction, and new school models.
4.2 - Institute in concert with global education partners a Global-Ready designation for schools and districts that provides a process and incentives and addresses, at the least, the following:
·         K-12 world language opportunities for all students;
·         Pathways for teachers, leaders and administrators to achieve SBE-recognized badging;
·         Career-ready employer requirements;
·         Global school partnerships; and
·         Local school board resolutions and plans on global education.
4.3 - Task an entity with collecting and communicating lessons learned around school, district, state, national and international global education initiatives

Commitment 5: Strategic International Relationships
5.1 - Where appropriate, work with the NC Department of Commerce, the State Chamber of Commerce, the North Carolina Business Committee for Education and other key business partners to:
·         Identify priority nations and establish a minimum of five new international relationships consistent with SBE global education priorities.
·         Renew existing and explore new Memoranda of Understanding with international partners and the North Carolina State Board of Education.
5.2 - Name partner countries to serve as the primary source of information about skill requirements and projections, inform development of K-12 curriculum and teacher preparation and professional development, and serve as a high priority source and destination for administrator, principal, and teacher exchanges and visits.

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