By: Jason Cummings
The beginning of a new school year brings a lot of exciting developments in the World Perspectives Program. During this opening week of school, classrooms and hallways have that typical September buzz of enthusiasm as students and faculty are eager to take on new projects, move in new directions and continue to explore our globally connected world through GFA’s diverse programming.
A few developments in particular that we are excited to announce this year are the creation of our Center for Global Studies, the beginning of the Global Thesis program for our first cohort of 15 seniors hoping to graduate with concentration in Global Studies and a significantly increased offering of trips, particularly in the Middle School.
The Center for Global Studies is a natural development for a program like the WPP. With so many interesting projects going on throughout the school, from Kindergarten through the Upper School, it has become important for there to be a directing body of GFA faculty who will support and shape the program’s many initiatives. This group of twelve faculty members represents all of the traditional academic disciplines as well as our three divisions (Lower, Middle and Upper School). We will meet monthly to discuss the direction of the World Perspectives Program, its implementation and the most effective and innovative ways to bring the world to our classes.
One of the main responsibilities of the Center for Global Studies will be to support our diploma program. The current senior class, the class of 2012, is the first group of students to whom the option to pursue a concentration in Global Studies has been available. Fifteen of our top seniors are on target to earn the diploma with a concentration. Topics of study range from institutional support for minority languages in France to the question of whether water access is a human right or an economic commodity. These students will meet weekly throughout the year with their individual thesis advisors as well as in small seminars that are aimed to help them learn more about research methods, presentation skills and networking. We will look forward to hearing their culminating presentations as a part of our World Perspectives Symposium on April 24, 2012.
As a part of the diploma program students must complete a service learning program during their Upper School years. The spirit of these programs and the long-term personal effect that they can have on young people are irreplaceable. With this in mind, we are pleased to make our trips offerings in the Middle School more robust than they have ever been, allowing younger students to test the waters of international travel and service work. Our traditional trip to Canada (this year to Quebec) for Middle School French students is, of course, on the books for February 2012. In addition, however, in June of 2012, 7th and 8th grade students will have the opportunity to participate in a week of scuba diving and Caribbean ecology at the Island School in the Bahamas. Lastly, 8th graders who are currently studying Spanish should know that they are welcome to participate in the Upper School immersion and service learning program in Linda Vista, Costa Rica in June of 2012. For more information on the trips being offered in the 2011-2012 school year, feel free to browse the World Perspectives Program’s page on GFA’s website. Please keep in mind that we are continuing to gather all of the information about upcoming trips, so you will note that there are still a couple of pages that are under construction. These programs will be announced to the student body at different points throughout the month of September. Parents who are interested in hearing more about these programs should plan to hear short presentations for the faculty organizing these programs immediately following US and MS Parent’s Visiting Nights.