Forty-eight schools and 14 teachers were recognized recently for their global awareness, teaching practices and global philosophies.
“People sometimes just think of globalization as learning about the world, but UCPS goes far beyond that,” said Deputy Superintendent Dr. David Clarke. “We’re preparing our students to be able to compete in the world. We’re preparing them to be better communicators, better collaborators, to think critically, think creatively, to problem solve and also to develop a global conscience.”
The schools and teachers were recognized Aug. 23, 2012, during a system wide recognition held at Central Academy of Technology and Arts.
Clark told the auditorium, which was filled to capacity with educators, that UCPS ranks at the top in the state and nation in its focus on global education. “One thing about our program that I’m very proud of is it’s been a grassroots, bottom-up effort on the part of our schools,” he said. “The schools have really taken off on it. We’re not forcing the schools to get involved in this program. You’re doing it on your own.”
UCPS Superintendent Dr. Mary Ellis joked that globalization has changed since she graduated from Piedmont High School in 1976. “Globalization in that day and time was ‘I went to Piedmont and you went to Parkwood,’ ” she quipped.
“There was no social media, no email,” she said. “Now people know instantaneously what’s going on. Back then, people had to get in their cars or call on the phone to share news.”
Ellis reinforced the importance of teaching children with the global picture in mind.
“Globalization is playing an increasing important role in our lives,” she said. “We’re preparing children for jobs that haven’t been invented yet; but we can teach them to think critically, to solve problems and to be accepting of other cultures.”
In the recognition ceremony, there were several categories that schools and teacher could strive to attain, beginning with Global Teacher Leaders. There were about 50 applicants for this designation, Clarke said, which required a portfolio that demonstrated their global teaching practices, having a global philosophy and being able to offer their students a global education. Fourteen teachers made the Global Teacher Leader designation.
The Global Teacher Leaders were Nate Walbruch from Union County Early College, Trevor Althof from Kensington Elementary, Mary Jo Burd from Sun Valley Middle, Megan Clement from Parkwood High School, Kelly Contrera from Union Elementary, Kristy Dilsworth from Weddington High School, Angela Weed from Sun Valley High School, Annette Harris from Piedmont High School, Brenda Todd from Rocky River Elementary School, Jim Williams from Sun Valley High School, Judi Lamb from Prospect Elementary School, Karen Picerno from Prospect Elementary School, Megan Stanley from Piedmont Middle School, and Starla Williams from New Salem Elementary School.
On a school level, the highest designation is an International School, for which the school had to achieve 85 points or higher. These schools were awarded a large banner that will be hung outside their school and a plaque.
There were 10 schools to make this achievement: Cuthbertson High, Kensington Elementary, Weddington Elementary, Central Academy of Technology and Arts, Weddington High, Antioch Elementary, Indian Trail Elementary, New Salem Elementary, Porter Ridge High and Weddington Middle. The school to score the highest number of points (for the third consecutive year) was Cuthbertson High School, with 92 points.
There were 22 schools that achieved the Global Partner School designation, meaning it had to score between 60 to 84 points. Those schools were Parkwood High, Piedmont Middle, Rocky River Elementary, Sun Valley High, Parkwood Middle, New Town Elementary, Prospect Elementary, Marvin Ridge High, Waxhaw Elementary, Cuthbertson Middle, Shiloh Elementary, Unionville Elementary, Marvin Ridge Middle, Marvin Elementary, Stallings Elementary, Poplin Elementary, Monroe High, Porter Ridge Middle, Sandy Ridge Elementary, Benton Heights Elementary, Union Elementary and Piedmont High School.
A Global Affiliate School had to score between 45 and 59 points. The 12 Global Affiliates were Wingate Elementary, Western Union Elementary, Porter Ridge Elementary, Hemby Bridge Elementary, Sun Valley Middle, Monroe Middle, Rea View Elementary, Walter Bickett Elementary, Sardis Elementary, Wesley Chapel Elementary, East Union Middle and Union County Early College.
A Goodwill Ambassador School, which had to score between 35 to 44 points, were Fairview Elementary, East Elementary, Forest Hills High and Sun Valley Elementary School.
The UCPS Global Recognition ceremony is an annual event held by the Union County Public Schools to honor globally-aware schools and teachers.