Vaughn Next Century Learning Center
Vaughn is a pre-Kindergarten to 12th grade urban public charter school that serves approximately 3,000 students in Los Angeles, CA.
Why Global Education?
“From an economic lens, social lens, diplomacy lens, world peace lens, establishing relationships lens, and friendships lens, the days of ‘I grew up here, and that’s all I see’ is going to be gone soon, if not already a thing of the past. We have to teach schools to harness globalization rather than resist it. When we look at nativism and the fear of globalization, when we see that backlash, it’s a reaction from those who have not yet had the benefit of deep and wide exposure to people from different backgrounds, to truly develop relationships and empathy. When people ask why we go on our trips to China, I point out that, if there was international conflict between the U.S. and China, the first thing our students and teachers would do is start texting or emailing their colleagues in China. We’ve developed relationships overseas that create a vested interest in our mutual well-being. The relationships, the similarities, and the knowledge of ‘they love me and I love them’ eliminates stereotypes. It’s the idea of creating avenues for diplomacy and world peace.”
– Mr. Brent Wozniak, Chief Academic Officer
Shared Mission and Vision
- Adopted Asia Society’s global competence framework and worked with Asia Society to build the model of the high school
- Worked with staff to move their understanding of global competence from geographic boundaries and towards an issue-based approach.
Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
- Focuses on schoolwide learning on global competence as the core method for learning. Instituted global competence work in the high school, and then brought the same model down to middle school and elementary school. Partners with Asia Society International Studies Schools Network (ISSN) for intensive coaching and support for administrators and teachers to build the capacity to integrate global competence.
- Emphasizes a variety of pedagogical frameworks for infusing global learning into the curriculum and instruction, including project-based learning and the Understanding by Design® framework.
- Developed a digital portfolio wherein students in grades 6 through 12 assess and track their global competence growth.
- Runs a Mandarin language program.
Collaborative Professional Community
- Supports a bifurcated professional development model: one cohort focuses on building capacity for incorporating global projects into course content for teachers who are new to the school, while the other focuses on developing veteran teachers as coaches for integrating global competence. ISSN coaches have helped train instructional leaders as well.
- Facilitates meetings of teachers grouped by content areas in grades 6 through 12. Elementary school teachers start by inserting global competence into just one content area, then address the cross-curricular piece.
- Gave “early adopters” the space to effectively model global integration for their colleagues.
Global Connections and Collaboration
- Set up and participates in an exchange program with a sister school in China.
- Forms and maintains relationships with colleagues around the country through the ISSN, which has helped make global learning actionable for staff on a broader scale.
Advocacy and Community Engagement
- Partners with the district’s local World Affairs Council to provide students the opportunity to interview world leaders.
- Helps students participate in local volunteer projects to use their global competence skills in authentic contexts, and encourages students to do community projects on their own.
- Includes parents’ participation in instructional programming on the school’s evaluation matrix for teachers.
- Promotes global learning to policymakers by presenting on state panels.
Equity and Inclusivity
- Seeks to disrupt his students’ social capital inequities by exposing them to different languages and skillsets; for example, by offering a Spanish for Spanish speakers course and creating a foundation that pays for 85 percent of students’ costs to participate in the Chinese exchange program.
Operations and Management
- Invested school funding in global competence coaches to work with teachers for the high school’s first four years.
- Uses existing fiscal resources to carve out time to support teachers’ global competence development, including dedicated funds for substitutes so teachers have the time and space to create a global unit of study.