By Nicholas Allen | May 13, 2020
UNC World View’s mission is to equip educators. The professional development offerings, resources, and collaborative connections have provided a lift to the ongoing work we do, preparing students for career and college.
Susanne Long is the Director of Continuous Improvement in the Onslow County School System. “Onslow County spans from beautiful farming areas to the sunny coast and is considered one of the ‘big 12 education districts,’” remarked Long. It is home to the largest Marine Corps base on the East Coast. Subsequently, Onslow serves students and parents who have broader encounters with international experiences. Global awareness in the county, however, is not limited to military families. “We host 50 plus international teachers on a J-1 visa and have 7 schools, elementary and middle, that offer dual language immersion,” noted Long. Additionally, Onslow County Schools is a North Carolina Department of Public Instruction recognized Model Global-Ready District and is the home to two NCDPI Global-Ready Schools: Carolina Forest International Elementary and Dixon Elementary. The county stands securely on its own as a home to globally-minded students and educators, but they’ve also collaborated with UNC World View to expand their scope.
In 2017, Onslow County Schools hosted UNC World View’s K-12 Global Education Summit. Over 600 educators gathered for this one-day professional development event offered to partner institutions. Long has also attended the Global Education Leaders Program at UNC-Chapel Hill; global study visits to South Africa, Germany and Ireland; and has completed World View’s online technology integration course. She stated that “the professional development offerings, resources collaborative connections have provided a lift to the ongoing work we do, preparing students for career and college.” She also expanded upon the collaborative nature of seminars and symposia, noting that sharing at UNC World View has given Onslow County teachers an important platform for their personal professional development. “More importantly, this work has enhanced student voice. Onslow has had students as young as first grade share at state conferences. That is impact, hearing a seven-year-old share her compelling ‘why’ of global learning and language instruction.”
During the inaugural Global Education Leaders Program Abroad, which took place in early in 2020, Long noticed the value in collaboration across the state and across the grade levels, kindergarten through community college. “It is so important to share tools, strategies, and resources that can provide students with career-ready skills which ultimately impact future economics of North Carolina and beyond,” she emphasized.
Despite an already impressive capacity for global education, Onslow continues to strengthen and expand. Using NCDPI’s Global-Ready Rubric, Onslow County Schools is bolstering standards-based instruction, increasing STEM opportunities, opening career pathways and providing leading-edge language opportunities to its students. In the true spirit of “global,” Onslow extends their reach beyond the walls of the classroom into community and business partnerships.
One of our current projects includes a two-year virtual grant proposal in conjunction with the Stevens Initiative and IFTD, Marrakesh, Morocco Schools. Through this grant, students at seven high schools in Onslow and Marrakesh will jointly engage through World History standards and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
Through the grant, students will have opportunities to identify what these goals represent for their own communities through visual and performing arts.
Despite the changes catalyzed by COVID-19, Long remains optimistic and focused on humanity’s commonalities. She noted that although we’re challenged by the universal dilemmas of providing quality education, technology access, health care and food security, that shared challenge unites us. “As part of mankind, we are more alike than different. Our students have wonderful opportunities ahead as they connect, learn and share with students from around the world to discuss and potentially solve global concerns.”
With her sights set on some of the world’s chief problems, we’re excited to see how Susanne Long and Onslow County continue pushing the envelope of global education in the future.