World Leadership School - WLS
Mission and Approach
The mission of World Leadership School is to empower young leaders to find innovative solutions to the world’s pressing problems. We do this by partnering with K-12 schools to make the shift to 21st century learning. We help our schools create student-centered learning environments where students learn to think critically, communicate across cultures, collaborate and find creative solutions to problems. In the process, young leaders find their voices.
We take small steps when partnering with a new school, whether it’s a single global program or the opportunity to coach a teacher. Over time, we build a working relationship with our school partners and, where possible, work on different levels of the school at once in order to accelerate change. We immerse students in life-changing learning and leadership experiences; we train and coach teachers on new approaches to teaching, such as Project-Based Learning; and we work with administrator teams on risk management, strategic planning, and the design of capstone projects, global diplomas and other programs. We call this our “whole school” approach.
At the center of our process is the belief that teachers must be the owners and agents of change and innovation. We believe that teachers need to grow themselves before they can grow their practice, and that transformed teachers will transform their classrooms. We measure our impact by what happens in the classroom, and by the student leaders who graduate each year from our partner schools.
Globalization and technology are causing schools around the world to re-design their learning environments. The ever-growing access to Internet allows students worldwide to access huge amounts of information. But the pace and complexity of global change makes it difficult to know what information our students will actually need to succeed in the future.
Because of these new realities, schools are making the shift away from content and toward skills. Increasingly, schools are asking this key question: along with our core content, what skills and aptitudes will our students need to thrive in the future? World Leadership School endorses the following list from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21), a coalition of corporations, educational leaders and policymakers.
- 4C’s – Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration and Creativity
- Life and Career Skills – Leadership, Grit, Adaptability, Agency
- Information, Media and Technology Skills
This shift toward skills requires new learning environments. In the past, students sat in rows and the teacher taught from the front of the class. Increasingly, students are working in self-directed teams and the teacher moves about in a new role as a learning coach. In the past, learning was teacher-directed, focused on content, and was assessed by standardized exams. In the future, learning will be student-centered, focused on skills, and evaluated by a new generation of performance rubrics, portfolios, real-world challenges and new-generation exams such as the College Work Readiness Assessment (CWRA).
Here is how World Leadership School partners with K-12 schools to help make the shift to 21st century learning.
- For students, our Collaborative Leadership Programs offer life-changing experiences where students learn about global issues and leadership. In these 10-21 day programs, students from different cultures learn and work together at a rural partner school in Africa, Asia, Latin America or the U.S.
- For teachers, our Professional Development services offer new perspectives on teaching. These include life-changing Faculty Travel Programs, In-Service Workshops and the Virtual Teacher Institute (VTI), where teachers receive yearlong, one-on-one coaching. The VTI helps teachers shift mindsets as they tackle new projects such as designing and teaching a new capstone course or implementing Project-Based Learning units. These projects become showcases to help accelerate change at the school.
- For administrators, we offer Consulting on strategic planning, curriculum design and risk management. We support administrative teams as they design global diploma programs, leadership programs, school-wide events, and capstone projects that integrate global collaboration and discovery. We also help schools train their program leaders and understand how to manage the risks of off-campus programs.
- We work with our overseas school partners through our non-profit World Leadership Foundation. Our traveling students and Board of Directors raise over $100,000 per year, which is invested directly in Community Projects where students build classrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, playing fields and other critical school infrastructure. We are pioneering a Mobile Tablet Lab, where our rural partner schools receive both technology and teacher training in order to create student-centered classrooms. For more information, see www.worldleadershipfoundation.org.