MPA sixth-graders joined children from schools across the world on Nov. 17, 2020, for a global dialogue about their shared experience of the pandemic.

Five of our students gathered online with more than 150 children from 10 states and India, England, and Mexico, to discuss the following questions:

  • How has the global pandemic impacted you and your school? What about your larger community or city?
  • What are some of the economic, environmental, and ethical issues related to this topic?
  • What can we learn about citizenship and leadership through these experiences and conversations?
  • What is the role you think science plays in your community, culture, or nation? How might this impact any efforts around COVID-19 vaccination?

This virtual student dialogue gave students an opportunity to learn how to engage in respectful dialogue, communicate across differences, and understand multiple perspectives around a complex global issue.

“It surprised me how aware they were of economic ramifications of COVID-19 and the impact it had on families and communities,” sixth-grade teacher Emily Fitch told the Daily Southtown.

“As a teacher, when it was over and I was reflecting, I was really hopeful for our future and really impressed by how insightful the students were. It brought me a lot of hope for the future because these will be our leaders moving forward.”

The program was organized through Morgan Park Academy’s partnership with the Global Education Benchmark Group (GEBG), a non-profit association of schools with global education programs, and timed to coincide with International Education Week, a joint effort of the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Education to celebrate the benefits of international exchange.

The Global Education Benchmark Group (GEBG) is a leading organization of K-12 schools that researches and establishes best practices in the field of global education and prepares students to thrive in increasingly interconnected world systems.

The GEBG supports member schools through a myriad of benefits including in-depth professional development, collaborative student and faculty travel, discounted travel assistance and insurance, curricular development, conferences, institutional evaluations and endorsement, resource library and a supportive network of member schools. These initiatives help schools establish structures and programs that enable students to develop the knowledge, skills, and empathic orientation required of global citizens.

International Education Week (IEW), November 16-20, 2020, is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education is part of efforts to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences.