Sunday, June 21, 2009

Next Steps: Sustainable Global Parnerships Proposal

June 19, 2009

Matt Pena
Dean of Students
Casady School

Dear Matt:

Great to speak with you and Kari on Friday and I’m very glad the trip was successful. You and your kids did a wonderful job and our instructors in Peru, and our staff in Denver, have really enjoyed working with Casady School.

As discussed, a major focus of World Leadership School this coming year will be to help eight of our U.S. school partners make the transition from service learning trips to what we are calling Global Partnerships. This is the next stage in our strategy to help schools develop truly innovative global education programs.

On our service learning trips, students and faculty engage with a global issue, develop leadership awareness, and build important relationships in an overseas community. A Global Partnership continues the momentum of a trip and extends it into a year-round distance learning exchange between classrooms in different parts of the world.

Each Global Partnership will include regular interactions between two classrooms, one in the U.S. and the other in the overseas community; a sustained study of a global issue; and ongoing service projects, both abroad and perhaps in the U.S. as well. Ideas of leadership will be integrated, where appropriate.

These partnerships are designed to support and mesh with existing curriculum at each school. Our hope is that these partnerships will allow teachers to do a better job teaching Spanish, biology, environmental sciences, human geography, world history and other subjects.

We have had some early success with Global Partnerships at World Leadership School. This year, students from St. John’s Episcopal, a K-8 school in Olney, Md., are studying environmental sciences through a sustained dialogue on climate change with students in Belize.

After months of class-to-class contact, and student-led fundraising, a group of 14 students and three faculty from St. John’s arrived in Belize earlier this month. They brought five laptops and $2,000 in donations to set up a computer lab in Belize’s La Democracia elementary school. This lab will be used in the future to share information via class-to-class video conferencing, wikis, blogs, slideshows linked to voice threads, and other technologies. Here is their ongoing blog:

These global partnerships create a lot of positive change for our school partners in lesser-developed countries. They are also an extremely cost-effective way for U.S. schools to:
· Fulfill school mission by offering life-changing global education programs;
· Blend global issues, service learning and leadership into the school curriculum;
· Have a huge and positive impact on school partners in lesser-developed nations;
· Offer a real-world context for applying Web 2.0 technologies;
· Stand out in a rapidly changing global education market.

We know these types of global partnerships are hard for schools to launch without initial support and help. Building and sustaining an overseas relationship takes a lot of time and energy, and the responsibility usually falls upon teachers who are already overscheduled with competing priorities. Even in the best cases, these relationships can fizzle out for no apparent reason. In addition, figuring out which technology to use and how to fit the interactions into pre-established curriculum presents further challenges. Yet there’s no question that these class-to-class global partnerships, as challenging as they initially are, will be a key component of global education in the future.

For these reasons, World Leadership School is launching a Global Partnerships program. We will work with no more than eight schools during the 2009 - 2010 school year.

Requirements. To participate in the program, we require that schools:
· Have a demonstrated commitment to integrate global issues, service learning and leadership into their school culture and curriculum;
· Have a World Leadership School trip scheduled for the upcoming summer or spring;
· Assign 2 faculty members who are committed, and have the time, to work with us on developing a global partnership in their classroom. Their work responsibilities to World Leadership School should be written into their contract and they should be willing to travel with students in the spring or summer. We cannot succeed without committed faculty.

Goals. The program goals are two-fold:
· Two Global Partnerships. We will work closely with two faculty members from your school to design curriculum, manage the technology and facilitate the relationships involved in the launching of two new global partnerships at your school. At least one of these global partnerships will be with a World Leadership School site overseas; the other we can help your faculty build from scratch, or we can connect with a school at another World Leadership School location.
· Faculty Training. Apart from the two faculty we work with, we want to help your entire faculty and administration understand how to build and maintain overseas distance learning relationships; implement a new array of Web 2.0 tools in the classroom; and integrate global issues, service, and leadership into the classroom. The hope is that other faculty will see the success of Global Partnerships at your school and, armed with knowledge and a few basic tools, be inspired to explore their own in-class service programs or overseas partnerships.

Services Provided. We will begin by visiting your school to conduct a Faculty Training Seminar, to be designed in accordance with your school’s needs. During this half- or full-day seminar, we will
· Present the research and new trends behind global education partnerships;
· Highlight the most successful global education projects in the United States, emphasizing what works and why;
· Showcase new video conference tools and other Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis, widgets, Nings, Google Earth, TeacherTube, etc.;
· Find curricular tie-ins and explore ways to weave global issues, service and overseas partnerships into the existing curriculum;
· Facilitate hands-on activities and brainstorm possible projects for each participant, including an action plan for future work;
· Present the World Leadership School approach to teaching leadership, including curriculum guides;
· Brainstorm how to communicate your partnership’s success to parents and the larger community;

Throughout the school year, we will work closely with the faculty team assigned to launch the two Global Partnerships. The first meeting will be in-person and subsequent meetings will be via video conference. These meetings will address the following areas:
· Needs assessment;
· Strategic planning;
· Curricular design;
· Implementation and design of select Web 2.0 tools;
· Scheduling and coordination;
· Troubleshooting, such as the development of new overseas relationships or partnerships if necessary;
· Gathering student feedback and results;

We will provide on-site coordination and classroom facilitation for global partnerships offered in World Leadership School sites in Costa Rica, Belize, Peru, Guadeloupe and Kenya.

Our goal is to have success with every global partnership we start for schools this coming school year, but this may not be achievable. Some partnerships will fail for reasons beyond our control, including lack of commitment from overseas schools in countries where World Leadership School does not operate. In this case, we will do everything we can to re-design the partnership to make it successful.

Communicating the success of these programs is critical. Once the program is underway, we are glad to work with your development or communication office to help explain these partnerships, and why they are important, to your larger school community.

We will also provide feedback directly to school leadership on the progress made in establishing the global partnerships and what adjustments need to be made to ensure success.

Cost. The total cost to participate in the Global Partnerships program for the 2009-2010 school year is $6,250. Half of the fee, or $3,125, is payable on September 1, and the remainder is due January 1. This price is all-inclusive. World Leadership School will not bill any additional expenses for travel, accommodations, meals, communication, etc. Each school is responsible for providing basic computer equipment (laptop with web cam, microphone, and projector/Smartboard) in the assigned “global partnership” classrooms.

Staff. This effort will be headed by Alecia Berman-Dry, upcoming Global Partnerships Director for World Leadership School. As Technology Coordinator for St. John’s Episcopal, Alecia continues to develop what is to date World Leadership School’s most successful and sophisticated global partnership. This new position, which she starts July 2009, will allow Alecia to use her experience and knowledge to help other schools roll out similar programs. For more information on Alecia, see below.

I will also devote much of my time this coming year to working with Alecia and our partner schools on this new and exciting program.


Ross Wehner
Executive Director
World Leadership School

Alecia Berman-Dry, Global Partnerships Director, is an experienced speaker and workshop leader who has worked in environments as varied as Washington, D.C. law offices, church basements and college classrooms. Along the way, she has helped school administrators, teachers, and parents make informed decisions about internet safety, social networking, website development, the use of computer programming to teach math, Web 2.0 tools and global education. Her summer teacher training sessions, "World Village Training," are her favorite hands-on workshops to present. Alecia is passionate about helping teachers establish and maintain their own meaningful classroom partnerships both nationally and internationally.

She currently teaches technology at St. John's Episcopal School, a K-8 Independent School just outside of Washington, D.C. Previously Alecia served as St. John’s Technology Coordinator for 8 years. She is a Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund Scholar, as well as the 2006 Best White Paper award winner at MICCA, Maryland’s annual conference for educational technology. Alecia also served as the Technology Chair of the AIMS (Association of Independent Maryland Schools) Academic Advisory Committee for two years.

Alecia received an M.A. in Liberal Studies from Loyola College in Maryland in 2009. Her field of research focused on social networking communities, such as Facebook and Club Penguin, and how these communities affect identity development in adolescents. You can read her blog, entitled Ed Tech Axis, at

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