Unionville Elementary receives state recognition for global education
On Dec. 7, the NC Department of Public Instruction named Unionville Elementary a North Carolina Model Global-Ready School, making the school a leader in its focus on global education. Unionville Elementary is the second school in North Carolina, and the first in Union County, to receive this distinction.
“Unionville Elementary has successfully embedded global education in the school’s instructional model for years, and this distinction positions Unionville as a global education leader not only in Union County Public Schools (UCPS) but in the state of North Carolina,” said UCPS Superintendent Dr. Andrew Houlihan. “I have seen firsthand how the school wide focus on global education is positively impacting students and preparing them to succeed in a global economy.”
After a rigorous application process that included extensive documentation and site visits as well as interviews with parents, teachers and business leaders, Unionville Elementary was recognized for consistently implementing systems and processes to support global readiness. The school was also praised for its well-developed cutting edge practices that have resulted in a consistent, high-level impact to students.
What sets Unionville Elementary’s approach to global education apart from other schools is the dozens of global competencies the school embeds in its culture and instructional practices – a move that surpasses global education experiences offered at other schools and prepares every student to succeed in an interconnected and interdependent world.
“When I volunteered to host a bilingual class at Unionville five years ago, the vision was to use it as a springboard to bring global education to every student,” said Unionville Elementary Principal Dr. Sharyn VonCannon. “Receiving this award validates all the hard work done by staff in bringing this vision to fruition, and the students realize we have something unique and special at our school. Hopefully, Unionville can pave the way for other schools in Union County and can serve as a resource for other schools around the state.”
World language is fostered through students who participate in Unionville Elementary’s Spanish dual language immersion program, which is one of 11 dual language programs offered district wide. Additionally, all students take a global education class -- where they learn about global places, and relevant issues and topics – and the students partner with Piedmont High art and Spanish classes as well as the high school’s students on global projects.
Unionville Elementary has also developed global partnerships with schools across the world – including sister schools in the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica -- and provides students with an opportunity to communicate via Skype with a class in England. The school also celebrates diversity by hosting an annual international festival in their community and monthly celebrations of diversity, and all students regularly participate in community outreach projects that allow them to give back to others in their community and abroad while also learning about global topics and issues.
Unionville Elementary staff members also have the opportunity to enhance their global education. Thirty percent of the school’s staff is in the process of earning a Global Digital Badge designation, teachers regularly collaborate during global professional development sessions and employees have participated in a staff development trip through Immersion Abroad Costa Rica. Unionville Elementary school leadership regularly attends, speaks and presents at global education seminars and meetings, and the school hosts visitors from its global education leadership program to address global education issues.
From world language and education courses to global partnerships to community service opportunities that expose students to a number of world topics and issues, Unionville Elementary offers a comprehensive global experience to teachers and students that surpass what is offered in other schools in the state.