An engaging collection of globally focused programs takes students on a voyage of discovery that goes beyond a desk, beyond a classroom and beyond borders.
By Jacquelin Riley, director of the DCDS Global Initiatives Program
Sponsored by Detroit Country Day School
Today we are living in a world that is quite different than it was a century ago, a decade ago, even a few years ago. The world around us is evolving rapidly and becoming more connected every day, bringing fresh perspectives and intriguing challenges that affect the lives of students, business leaders and citizens in every nation. Our students are absorbing concepts and ideas in new ways, and it is imperative that we introduce them to other cultures and build 21st century skills by learning, engaging and contributing to a diverse global environment.
At Detroit Country Day School, we are bringing the entire world to the classroom through Global Initiatives, an internationally focused program that provides three distinct pathways to help students become active, informed and empathetic global citizens.
Each program provides compelling experiences and active opportunities to study, travel and forge new connections with students in other nations. It’s part of our EPIIC curriculum that helps prepare students for college and develop the complex, collaborative and creative skills needed for future careers. All of our Global Initiatives pathways are taught using the EPIIC approach — learning that is Experiential, Participatory, Image-Rich, Interdisciplinary and Connected. It is the framework for learning that goes beyond what students learn to focus on how students learn.
The first Global Initiatives pathway has long been part of the DCDS experience — the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. IB sets the standard for international education. DCDS joined the program in 1978 and was the 98th school in the world to do so. No school in Michigan has been an IB school longer. Today the curriculum is taught in nearly 3,000 schools across 138 countries. It’s a rigorous two-year program that challenges students to develop critical thinking, research, language and writing skills. Students explore complex global issues in a way that blends a wide variety of topics such as history, math and art into an integrated curriculum, bridging content areas and even grade levels. In addition to academic rigor, the IB emphasizes international and cultural awareness, promotes geographical and cultural mobility and can translate into college credits.
The DCDS Global Scholars pathway takes students on a journey through a unique global curriculum that includes multiple language courses, multicultural literature and history, online summer seminars, research and participation in the DCDS Sister School Exchange program, either by traveling to another country for a home stay or hosting a foreign student in their home. In addition, students in the Global Scholars program have the opportunity to create a unique global framework for their senior project — an internship-style experience all DCDS students complete before graduation.
The Global Community pathway provides adventurous students with an aptitude for languages with an exciting travel experience across our sister school network. This program promotes international understanding, cultural immersion and places a focus on world languages. It is about developing rich personal growth, while breaking down barriers and allowing students to take the lead in shaping their own international experiences. It’s one of the most exciting opportunities that DCDS students have to forge unique EPIIC connections with inspiring people, places and ideas.
Our sister school network connects our students to those who attend schools in other countries that share our philosophy and mission. This cooperation created a shared purpose: to change the world by fostering tolerance, acceptance and an understanding of other cultures. Currently, DCDS has sister school programs with schools in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan and the Netherlands (for the DCDS Middle School).
Not only do our Global Initiatives programs expand students’ perspectives with new cultures and communities abroad, but they count on the diversity of our students at home. Whether or not students participate in one of our international programs, every student benefits from the global outlook and cultural vibrancy of our EPIIC curriculum and diverse student body. DCDS’s hallways are filled with students from all over the globe and from all walks of life. They add a richness to classroom discussions and present compelling cultural views.
As the world becomes increasingly smaller, it is critical for our students to gain a rich and nuanced global perspective and awareness of international issues. Our goal is to build the skills needed to develop students into productive world leaders through an appreciation, understanding and knowledge of the global community.
Schools all over the world struggle to keep up with the rapid evolution of technology and the changing environment that social media and digital advances have created for our students. At DCDS, the goal is not to try to keep pace with technology or globalization of the world’s thinking and economy. Instead, the school’s focus is to place students ahead of that growth by giving them the ability to face unfamiliar problems and find creative solutions. To apply that which they know, to build frameworks for solutions, and to be the innovators that others chase — that is what our EPIIC and Global Initiatives program instills in students.
We know that the best way to help build global leaders is to start small — an unfamiliar taste or making a new friend. A global outlook begins when a person starts to look a little further afield than their own backyard and considers not only how others are different, but also how we are alike. When students takes the plunge to read a new book or hop on a plane, they are expanding their own world while reducing the gap between countries and cultures.
Students in Southeast Michigan are not so different from those in Paris, Barcelona or Kusatsu. They are eager to grow and excited to connect with each other. By building strong communication skills and empathy at a young age, our students begin to forge the links that will stay with them throughout their lives. It will make them better scholars, better leaders and better people. It may just inspire them to change the world.
Detroit Country Day School
Preschool 3 & 4
3003 West Maple Road, Bloomfield Hills
3600 Bradway Blvd., Bloomfield Hills
22400 Hillview Lane, Beverly Hills
22305 West 13 Mile Rd., Beverly Hills