Watertown Middle School

Watertown is an urban public middle school that serves approximately 250 students in Watertown, MA.

Why Global Education?

“Global competence is central. The world is more and more complex and interdependent and more and more connected where everyone has a voice in the information age. Therefore, it’s important for students to have informed voices, see all sides of an issue to make an informed decision, communicate with lots of different kinds of people, and not be afraid to work collaboratively to make things better. Global competence pairs that goal with the productive worker goal (which often overlap) to design something for the high paying jobs we want our kids to have. It’s all about inquiry and design, for citizenship and workers, making sense of information and creating something that makes a difference.”

– Dr. James “Kimo” Carter, Principal

Key Practices

Shared Mission and Vision

  • Introduced Asia Society framework to establish a shared understanding across the school of global competence, identified which school elements and activities fit into that framework, and then how to incorporate it into classrooms fully.

Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

  • Revamped curriculum so that global competence, project-based learning, and inquiry learning is a part of everyday instruction, and provides teachers the time and space to work together in grade-level subject teams to meet the standards in ways that promote global competence. Adjusted existing special events and trips to incorporate a global perspective, including annual 8th grade trip to Washington, D.C. and the geography annual World’s Fair. 
  • Introduced a capstone project for which all 8th-grade students research and take action on a social justice issue in their community, country, and the world.

Collaborative Professional Community

  • Schedules common planning time every day for teachers and organizes monthly teacher-led professional learning teams that provide the infrastructure for teachers to work on a global problem of practice. 
  • Provides a governance system that ensures teachers have the space to start and grow initiatives, which models global citizenship as “grassroots change that percolates upward.” As a result, global work is very collaborative with many ideas (e.g., Kingian Non-Violence Training, the capstone Choosing to Participate Project, redesign of the World’s Fair and the Washington Trip) coming directly from teachers.

Global Connections and Collaboration

  • Invested in becoming a one-to-one technology school to help students connect globally.

Equity and Inclusivity

  • Participates in a liaison program with Boston College to help the school connect with non-English speaking families from Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Urdu, and Armenian backgrounds. 
  • Seventh-grade team is piloting a program that partners higher-performing students with English language learners for content area and vocabulary support.
  • Embeds global competence into the hiring process to ensure that all new hires can join teachers in planning, reflecting on, and adjusting the curriculum.

Operations and Management

  • Emphasizes that incorporating global competence isn’t expensive; rather, it requires a more efficient allocation of time through common planning structures that allow teachers to dive deeply into content.