Lewton Global Studies/Spanish Immersion Magnet School

Lewton is a pre-Kindergarten to sixth grade urban public school that serves approximately 300 students in Lansing, MI.

Why Global Education?

“Our world is smaller because of globalization. From an economic standpoint, you need to be globally competent to be marketable, given that so many jobs don’t even yet exist. That’s part of the imperative. One of my graduate school advisors was an economist. His research showed that being able to work with people different than yourself is as important to employers as reading at a 9th grade reading level. Globally competent people don’t see others as less than, just different. Helping students develop a nonjudgmental stance towards those who are different is so critical. Global competence also makes the world a much more interesting place, which is part of what we try to do in developing curiosity.”

– Dr. Tom Buffett, Principal

Key Practices

Shared Mission and Vision

  • Led school’s effort to develop their own “Habits of Work and Habits of Mind“ framework for defining global studies. 
  • Models a global mindset for his staff by sharing articles, videos, and podcasts that offer international perspectives.

Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

  • Ensures that each classroom completes global projects throughout the school year, and orchestrated quarterly “World Wednesdays” to showcase students’ work. 
  • Invests in professional learning to help teachers incorporate global competence habits into instruction. Enlisted the Buck Institute for Education as the foundation for summer professional development and training on project-based learning, which the school adapted to incorporate their habits of mind and work and connections to global issues. Connected with MSU professors to learn about the project-based learning programs they researched and what leads to success.
  • Gets teachers interested in a local perspective by using simple questions to help them connect an issue that excites them and the content area they’re teaching. 
  • Offers Spanish immersion, where half of the day is taught exclusively in Spanish.

Global Connections and Collaboration

Runs an international exchange trip to Costa Rica for graduates of the Spanish immersion program, and has creatively fundraised to make the costs as low as possible for families.

Operations and Management

Created and funded two focus teacher positions, focused on supporting teachers in global studies and Spanish immersion, through federal grants the school already received.