The World in DC: Toward a New Approach to Locally-Grounded Global Competence Education

Led by Project Zero researcher Veronica Boix Mansilla, “The World in DC: Toward a New Approach to Locally-Grounded Global Competence Education” was a multi-year collaboration between the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and Project Zero. The Professional Development Collaborative supported the project in its first year, assisting in planning content for professional development seminars and in leading professional learning group meetings for teachers in the two secondary schools that were involved.

The participating schools were H.D. Cooke Elementary, MacFarland Middle, and Roosevelt High, all Global Studies schools within DCPS.

The project took the local cultural capital of the city–i.e., its ethnic diversity, cultural life, neighborhood identities, cultural institutions, NGOs, and international presence–as a means for opening students’ minds through engagement with the world while also deepening their sense of belonging in the nation’s capital city.

Guiding Questions for the project were:
  1. What is global competence and how does it develop among students and ourselves?
  2. How can we create learning environments that foster global competence in deep, relevant, and long-lasting ways?
  3. How can we draw on our city to prepare students as competent local and global citizens?
  4. How can we support our ongoing, high-quality learning as teachers within and beyond our group?

The project had four major focus areas for professional development:

  • Monthly cross-school seminars;
  • Bi-monthly school-based professional learning groups;
  • Development of practical tools that other educators can use; and
  • Documentation of teacher and student learning.

All of these efforts aimed to thread global perspectives and Global Thinking Routines throughout existing curricula, from elementary to high school.

Institutionalization and efforts toward dissemination beyond the participating schools were ensured through the following actions:

  • The project sponsored public events and exhibitions, making the work of students and teachers visible.
  • Team members conducted ongoing seminars and presented at local conferences in order to disseminate the emerging framework and practices.
  • Design of an agile interactive website to support the work of the project and disseminate the projects’ core teachers’ guides, practices and cases.

The last phase of the project was dedicated to synthesizing lessons learned and supporting dissemination efforts. A publication introduced “The World in DC” as an innovative approach to locally-grounded global competence education.