Harris Road Middle School

Harris Road is a suburban public middle school that serves approximately 1,300 students in Concord, NC.

Why Global Education?

“We are charged with helping students see the ‘so what’ of education. What’s a better way to do that than global education? I read a study that high schoolers know that they are pursuing jobs and careers where they are expected to interact and work with other cultures. Why not start them here? Why not get them comfortable in the world? As educators, we are promoting our students’ understanding so that they learn to understand and interact with other cultures and not be that person who’s ignorant and doesn’t know. My goal is for students to see both sides and then form their own opinion. The goal is to present students with the opportunity to form their own ideas and thoughts that are based on verified facts."

– Mr. Chris Balga, Assistant Principal

Key Practices

Shared Mission and Vision

  • Brings stakeholders together through three different committees to support global initiatives: a Global Committee, School Improvement Team, and Curriculum Leadership Team. 
  • Connects global competence to current local and state educational climate a way to remain competitive amidst the school choice movement and by aligning it with global awareness elements on the North Carolina teacher evaluation tool.

Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

  • Provides teachers time to review and revamp the year-long curriculum map of state standards for each grade level and subject area annually, and asks teachers to layer global themes and concepts onto it, rather than treating it as an add-on. 
  • Created various problem-based learning opportunities for students focused on local and global real-world topics. 
  • Introduced a schoolwide theme of sustainability, focused on reducing, reusing, and recycling. 
  • Offers Chinese, Spanish, world music, and global studies classes for students.

Collaborative Professional Community

  • Integrated global education professional development into their existing weekly professional learning communities (PLCs), and over the course of two years, all staff completed Participate< global competence online modules. New teachers work with veteran teachers for support as they complete the modules.
  • Gives staff time to work on North Carolina’s Global Educator Digital Badge, which includes completing 100 hours of global professional development and creating a unit plan.
  • Places elective staff into core subject area PLCs to encourage cross-curricular global discussions. 
  • Provides teachers opportunities during workdays to share their global units and strategies on teaching global concepts with PLCs in different subject areas.

Global Connections and Collaboration

  • Actively participates in discussions with state
  • Works with schools across his district to begin implementing global education, and serves on the global committee focused on the districtwide global education strategy. 
  • Serves as on the advisory board of World View, a public service program at the University of North Carolina that provides global education professional development.
  • Connects his school staff with colleagues he meets at conferences. 
  • Provides a technology base by giving every class a laptop cart for global project-based learning. 
  • Uses social media to connect his school to the world; for example, by using Twitter and Facebook to promote global themes and concepts and sharing a YouTube video that showcases students’ global competence work and perspectives on the importance of global education.

Advocacy and Community Engagement

  • Created a School Improvement Team of parents and community members who provide monthly feedback on meeting school goals and contribute new ideas. 
  • Invites parents, business leaders, and other community members to share their experiences with global concepts, which helps students see their local impact. 
  • Created a global education newsletter for the community that showcases various global initiatives.

Equity and Inclusivity

  • Provides staff ongoing opportunities to confront their own biases and how they care for students, including bimonthly culturally responsive training on how to approach members of other cultures. 
  • Asks staff to document their knowledge of students outside of school, which prompts teachers to build relationships with certain students.
  • Asks candidates for hire how they will incorporate the school’s global initiatives in the classroom.

Operations and Management

  • Solicited financial support for global learning professional development from the school district.