The North Carolina State Board of Education designated Onslow County Schools as a Global-Ready Model District, making the district a leader in North Carolina for its focus on global education. It is the only district in the state to meet the “Model” level requirements.
The NC State Board of Education formed a Task Force on Global Education in Sept. 2011 to assess the state’s effort to produce globally competitive graduates ready to live, work, and contribute to an interconnected world. One action of the task force was the creation of criteria and a process for the Global-Ready Schools and Districts Designation. The State Board of Education approved the Global-Ready District Designation Rubric at its May 2015 meeting. Schools and districts were able to apply for the “Designation” status and meet the criteria for “Prepared” or “Model” status. The “Model” level, highest level, means that global readiness is embedded in the school district’s culture and practices and has shown high-level student impact.
What does Onslow County Schools’ global culture look like? The school district is home to 52 international teachers; 21 of our schools host a visiting international teacher. The district currently hosts the largest contingency of Chinese guest teachers in the United States. OCS has formalized ongoing partnerships with eight countries and numerous cities contained within; 24 schools participate in these partnerships and we continue to develop additional partnerships.
OCS provides a comprehensive K-12 world language program in order for our students to prepare for their future. Over 50 percent of our students are enrolled in a World Language offering. Currently 15 of our 19 elementary schools, seven of our eight middle schools and all seven of our high schools offer face-to-face World Language offerings. Additionally, language offerings are available through the district video conferencing system, Onslow View, and NC Virtual Public Schools. Beginning Jan. 2017, through our own OCS Virtual Academy, world language offerings will expand even further.
Five years ago, OCS implemented elementary Spanish Dual Language Immersion program. It was so successful it expanded from three sites to five sites and will expand to a middle school site in 2018-19. In addition to global language opportunities, students have opportunities to travel abroad, engage in community service, and travel internationally. World language interests are fostered through language and culture clubs, numerous cultural fairs, global parades, Chinese New Year festivals and global showcases. OCS teachers have ongoing opportunities for sponsored international travel through our partnerships. In OCS, opportunities for teachers and students to experience global education surpass what other districts offer.
Onslow County Schools’ comprehensive approach to integrating global competencies began as early as 2007. Our work led us to be recognized as having Models of Innovation including being recognized as a Global Schools Network Anchor District, selection as a member of the NC STEM Learning Network, work/membership with Future Ready Schools and selection as one of 20 schools in the nation recognized by Digital Promise, The League of Innovative Schools.
Having received the Global Ready Model Status designation, the district will receive invitations to North Carolina Global Education Collaborative initiatives and professional development opportunities.
“Our children are living in an interconnected and interdependent world,” said Rick Stout. “To prepare them for the future, we must make global education a priority and prepare our student to work with people from all around the world.”