After a 10-day trip to the Dominican Republic in 2017, elementary school principal Chasity Dolan flew home to Concord, North Carolina, with a new vision for her school.
Many of her students’ parents spoke only English at home, while several others spoke only Spanish. Dolan wondered if she could help her students become biliterate by having their parents learn from each other.
The inspiration came from her classroom visits in the Dominican Republic, where learning a second language is emphasized from an early age.
Dolan’s trip and the ensuing ideas she brought back to her school were made possible by Carolina’s World View program. Housed at UNC-Chapel Hill, the public service program provides global education professional development opportunities to educators throughout North Carolina.
In addition to sponsoring international travel, World View shares global resources and knowledge with 88 school districts and community colleges to help teachers globalize their curricula.
“The experience with World View really challenged me to think about the opportunities I have within my grasp to make a lasting impact on my community,” said Dolan, who joined 24 other teachers on the global study visit to learn more about educational practices abroad.
When she returned home from the Dominican Republic, Dolan started planning the Weddington Hills World Language School — a free after-school program for parents who want to learn a second language. Now in its second year, the program builds bridges between English- and Spanish-speaking parents and, in turn, helps Weddington Hills Elementary students become biliterate.
“World View enabled me to see what was at my fingertips in order to create bridges for families and students,” she said. “Interestingly enough, as I have worked through this process, I have realized that global can be local. By developing and growing my community, I am having a global impact on my local community, and to me, that is a true global education.”
World View director Charlé LaMonica said Dolan’s work has brought World View’s vision to life in Concord.
“We want every student to be ready for the challenges and opportunities of the world, and I think the earlier, the better when it comes to introducing them to that,” LaMonica said. “Being curious and imaginative and understanding different regions of the world is essential to becoming a well-educated person.”
Dan Mayo, dean of public services and fine arts at Pitt Community College near Greenville, North Carolina, said World View’s seminars have helped PCC educators to bring a global perspective back to their classrooms.
“All business is international now, so even in an accounting class, why not bring in international taxes or international fees?” Mayo said. “We’re able to bring programs to the classroom because through faculty members, we can have the greatest ripple effect in terms of giving students a new perspective.”
That new perspective, he said, is crucial to students’ success after they graduate, whether they stay in Pitt County or move to another country.
“We feel that there’s some obligation to get them ready to work in a cross-cultural environment — whether it’s locally or abroad — and just to become good citizens of the world,” Mayo said. “We want to give our students a perspective beyond Pitt County lines.”
The community college is also part of World View’s nationally recognized NC Global Distinction Program, a collaborative effort between World View and 22 community colleges across North Carolina where students can earn a global distinction certificate.
LaMonica said she is driven by helping educators empower their students to make the world a better place, which benefits us all.
“Understanding ourselves and different regions of the world is essential to becoming a well-educated person ready to fully engage, work together and compete in the world,” LaMonica said. “Sharing Carolina’s global resources and expertise with K-12 and community college faculty across the state benefits all students of North Carolina and creates a pipeline of globally competent citizens.”