Glen Arden Recognized as a Global-Ready School
By: Benjamin Rickert
BCS Communications Department
Glen Arden Elementary prepares students for a globally connected and competitive world.
On Thursday, Feb. 4, Glen Arden became one of only 12 schools named a Global-Ready School by the North Carolina State Board of Education (NCSBE) since 2013. The school was the first to receive the award in Buncombe County and the Asheville area. The announcement came during a virtual state NCSBE meeting streamed on YouTube.
“Making students even as young as five years old aware of our similarities around the world, as well as our differences, makes them more compassionate,” said Glen Arden Principal Kristina Specht. “Children don’t fear the differences among people. Instead, they want to understand those differences.”
At Glen Arden, students continually have the opportunity to see a bigger global picture and how their community fits into it. Each year, classes focus on studying and experiencing the culture of a specific country. The students engage in special activities, holiday celebrations, food tastings, read relevant books together, and more. Special guests teach children to perform and appreciate music from abroad. Classes also explore hands-on “cultural kits” including art, clothing, maps, pictures, and other items from around the world. Even the school’s cafeteria has a global focus, with flags from around the world strung across the room.
“Global education has been a thread woven in the fabric at Glen Arden for many years,” said BCS Global Education Specialist Dr. Cheri Boone. “The inclusion of the Dual Language Spanish Immersion program focused on leading edge language acquisition helped further their pioneering global work.”
Glen Arden’s Dual Language program is one of the school’s most popular Global Education efforts. In these classrooms, kindergarten through fourth grade students learn to read, write, and speak in a second language with instructors from around the world. To date, instructors have joined Glen Arden’s students from Spain, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Honduras.
The Global-Ready School award is part of a 2013 NCSBE initiative to prepare graduates for employment and success in an increasingly connected world. The initiative also created a Global-Ready District designation, and a rigorous Global Educator Digital Badge program for educators. To earn a badge, educators must receive at least 100 hours of global-focused professional development, design a curriculum capstone project, and undergo a state review. Three of the thirteen BCS badge recipients hail from Glen Arden Elementary, including Specht, Media Specialist Lee Ann Smith, and Dual Language Teacher Salome Loomis.
Global education is a current priority for all Buncombe County Schools. Approved by the Buncombe County Board of Education in 2016, the district’s Direction statement reads:
“Our students will become successful, responsible citizens in an ever-changing global society.”
All six districts of Buncombe County Schools currently have at least one Dual Language Spanish Immersion school.
Learn more about Global Education in Buncombe County Schools.