A few years ago, I stepped out of my office and looked down the hall to see three 8th grade boys engaged in a passionate discussion with a 6th-grade girl. Curious as to what made them so animated, I walked down and was thrilled to hear that they were talking about Model United Nations (Model UN) – outside of class! The 6th grader, representing her nation, was requesting financial assistance from the nation of the 8th graders. The boys were listening intently and let her know that they were planning on giving humanitarian aid to her country and wanted to sway other nations to join them. These students recognized that the problems of individual nations often require the cooperation and assistance of the global community.
As an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (MYP) school, Model UN is just one example of the purposeful opportunities created for BCD Middle Schoolers to think about global issues. Activities like these encourage our students to think about important issues outside their own country and to be active participants in a diverse, interconnected, and modern generation.
Being globally-minded also creates empathy and our students had a wonderful opportunity to work on this trait as they examined the Universal Declaration of Human Rights during our last Collaboration Day. Mr. Reinhold’s activity illustrated how Human Rights should be universal and must be defended and helped our students with the idea of walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. They also learned how others around the world have taken action to fight for human rights, think about which rights most resonated with them personally, and what they could do as students to protect them.
Earlier in the year, Mr. Montoya, who also serves as our Community Service Coordinator, introduced the Middle School to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. These 17 goals span a variety of topics from humanitarian concerns to environmental issues. The goals have been helpful in starting conversations with BCD students about what it means to be a global citizen. Many students incorporated one of the Sustainable Development Goals and/or Global Issues into their Model UN resolutions and/or 8th Grade Capstone projects.
There are other smaller activities that weave themselves into the daily lives of our students that continually work to broaden their global perspectives. For example, we regularly use different greetings in various world languages during morning meetings. Students watch news segments to be informed on current events as well as human interest segments on people serving their communities. And there is the ever-popular VR Googles, used by students to take virtual trips around the world.
All of these ideas, conversations, and activities work to best prepare students for their future. One alumnus, Olivia Williams (Class of 2017,) described the importance of an IB education and how being a globally-minded student assisted her in high school when she shared, “Not only did the IB classes help me to develop analytical and problem-solving techniques, as well as study methods that made me successful in high school, but these classes also gave me the confidence to take on a very challenging course load in high school. I credit my college acceptances and my preparation for university to the skills I learned in middle school.”
I have no doubt that much like Olivia, your students will apply the lessons they gained at BCD to their lives and will make valuable contributions to our communities, both local and global.
Dan Welch, Head of Middle School