A Story More Than Numbers
We know that the education we provide students is more than academic, that it doesn’t fit neatly into subject areas, and while we are well versed in the practice of reducing student achievement to a scale of grades, we know that isn’t the whole story.
When we think about the students we are the most proud of, or of the students we think we ourselves might like to work with in the future, they are often not the students who have earned the highest grades. So if the students we are most proud of do not necessarily achieve at the highest levels of our assessment systems, it stands to reason that we are not assessing what we are most proud of, what we most aspire for our students to become. There is more to the story than the numbers.
A Mission-Aligned Credential
When we think about planning educational experiences, we think about backward planning or Understanding by Design. We start with the learning targets we want students to achieve, then determine how we will know if they have hit those targets. Once we know how they will demonstrate their understanding, we plan learning activities to give them that understanding. We do this in our classrooms all the time. But do we do it on the level of our whole school?
We have whole school learning targets. We identify them in our Missions Statements: many include such values as leadership, respect, creativity, compassion, appreciation of diversity, the cultivation of global citizenship. But how do we know if students have learned these things? How many of us can point to the school records of past graduates to and find evidence of their compassion for others?
The Global Citizen Diploma is a credential that allows high schools to be accountable to their missions, to describe the learning that their schools work so hard to provide, above and beyond a GPA or academic average, and to make that learning as important as traditionally recognized classroom education.
Recognition, Not Addition
The Global Citizen Diploma is not designed as a higher bar to reach, or a more elaborate set of hoops for students to jump through. We believe that the learning our students do in and out of the classroom is preparing them to thrive as global citizens. The Global Citizen Diploma is designed to recognize all that students do to learn, in class, in the wider context of school, and in the world beyond. We don’t want them to do more. We want the world to see more of what they do.
Recognition For All
Because the Global Citizen Diploma is a descriptive diploma, it can be used by all students to illustrate what they are capable of. The GCD is as effective a tool for students who have learning challenges and work with accommodations or modified programs as it is for students who excel in the traditionally recognized ways.
It is a reality of international schools that some of our students move to other schools before graduation. The GCD has a level of recognition in the Global Citizen Certificate that allows students to represent what they have learned, even if they do not graduate from a GCD school.
A Culture of Reflection
The ability to think about the experiences we have had, reconsider them, evaluate and re-evaluate them, connect them to other experiences, and transfer our learning from one context to another, is what reflection is all about. And reflection is the thinking skill at the core of the GCD. By reflecting on their learning experiences throughout high school, students develop their reflective and critical thinking while synthesizing and making sense of their own education. The GCD offers a chance for students to connect learning from a Humanities class with the novel they read, with family vacation they took last summer and consider what it all means about the world they live in and the way they live in it. Ultimately, this is the kind of integrated learning we want students to make of their learning.
A Network of Like-Minded Schools
The GCD is a diploma, but it is also a global consortium of schools who share common values and a commitment to collaboration.
The Structure and Elements of the Global Citizen Diploma
How Students Earn the Global Citizen Diploma
Adopting the Global Citizen Diploma and Joining the GCD Consortium
The GCD Consortium looks forward to sharing the Global Citizen Diploma with like-minded, and like-hearted schools around the world.
Adopting the GCD begins with a process of communication with existing GCD Schools, and with the Global Coordinator of the Global Citizen Diploma. Early communications seek to ensure a good understanding of the program and its values. Schools that continue to be interested in adopting the diploma will participate in visits between their schools and an existing GCD school to see first hand how the diploma operates and to assess the fit between the interested school and the consortium. With mutual agreement, the interested school will become a candidate school when they agree to adopt the diploma and begin working with the Global Coordinator to put procedures in place to support the diploma and pay membership fees to contribute to the operation budget of the GCD. Candidate schools become members of the Consortium when they host a final visit of a GCD officer and roll out the program to their students, families and staff.
Please contact the Global Coordinator for further information.