Fulbright Seminars for School Administrators
Having embraced global competency as a theme for the culture and curriculum of our school and having two Teachers for Global Classrooms alumni on staff, the next natural step was to get involved myself. Learning about Finland while considering and applying for the Fulbright Seminars for School Administrators made me even more intrigued due to their success in education. It became an opportunity too significant not to apply for!
We are one of the most diverse schools in our state. So, we must be conscious of our own school culture to ensure there is a place for all students and their cultures. We empowered disenfranchised learners by emphasizing global competency principles—investigating the world, recognizing perspectives, communicating ideas, and taking action—in everything we did.
We have done a lot of things to help put student culture on a pedestal: forming clubs around those cultures, hosting student forums with local activists, holding cultural fairs, labeling materials in different languages, and organizing a “school swap” with a nearby rural school to integrate the two schools’ cultures.
Global learning and cultural competence have become cornerstones of Waverly High School’s culture. And the process of emphasizing diversity as a benefit for all has redefined who we are as a school. We celebrate who we are as a community rather than reject our differences.
Inclusion is a big value of ours, and our students seek it out. For example, our disciplinary measures have evolved from rewards and punishments to conversations and healing the harm. This has resulted in a reduction in disciplinary referrals, and we rarely if ever deal with actual cases of bullying. We’re now a model for tolerance.