Thursday, March 16, 2017

Providing students with global experiences and a competitive advantage!

Photo of students and staff attending the 2017 Global Youth Summit at UW-Madison, left to right:
Gisela Sarabia Sandoval, Rei Bezat, Samantha Rennie, Nayeli Govantes-Alcantar, Teacher Julie Grandeffo,
Carlos Miguel-Longoria, Teacher Andrea Behn

Guest Blogger: Andrea Behn
World Language Teacher, Parker High School

On Saturday, March 4, 2017, 5 Parker High School students and 2 World Language teachers, Julie Grandeffo and Andrea Behn, attended the 5th statewide Wisconsin Global Youth Summit (GYS) at UW-Madison.

Students and teachers followed different programs throughout the summit. While teachers learned how to establish a more global curriculum and promote the Global Education Achievement Certificate (GEAC), students explored what it means to be a global citizen.

Several comments from our Parker student participants regarding their experiences:

“. . our tables were composed of students from all over Wisconsin, and we held a discussion with a UW undergraduate about what a global citizen today looks like and how he/she is affected. Then our tables met an international student from China and she shared with us an infinite amount of information about her country. We went into detail about how their school system works, college, values and beliefs, food, sports, and politics. The conversation was so in-depth and interesting that an hour seemed like only ten minutes.”

“My table learned Czech and in the end, each table got to demonstrate what they learned for the entire group. It was a lot of fun because we learned about languages I have never even heard of. To finish the program, four UW students who traveled abroad sat as a panel and told us about their experiences studying abroad . . . the stories they told of their adventures were incredible.”

“My favorite was learning a new language, because I felt an advantage to communicate in some way to other people that don't speak my language.”

“I have learned all the benefits to taking risks, political and cultural perspectives from across the world, different mind sets, and the infinite opportunities your dreams can have if you truly believe they are special enough to make an impact. It felt as if I traveled the world in one day.”

Global Education Achievement Certificate

This was the second year that Parker students have participated in GYS. The summit was critical last year as the high schools in Janesville began the Global Education Achievement Certificate (GEAC) and GYS proved useful again this year as the district continues to promote the program. Any School District of Janesville high school student is eligible for the GEAC, though they must meet the following requirements:

1. Coursework
  • Four credits in one world language at the high school level (including English courses for students whose native language is not English)
  • Four credits in courses with global content. One credit may be one year of a second world language.
2. Eight Reflections demonstrating cultural literacy
  • Minimum of four reflections on books
  • Minimum of one reflection on art, music, or film
3. Participation in school wide global activities
  • Activities that you participated in to expand your global perspective, learn about world cultures, or explore global issues.
4. A minimum of twenty hours work on (a) global service project(s).
  • Actions have you taken to impact/make a difference in global issues.

These requirements and more information can be found at the SDJ Global Scholar Center.

High School students from SDJ pursuing the GEAC have been meeting throughout the year to work on portfolios and consulting with their teachers. This program requires students to be self-motivated, curious, and open to other cultures. Guidance is given, but the end result is all up to the student!

Our hope is to provide students with many opportunities to explore global citizenship in our community and abroad. If you would like to partner with SDJ Global Scholars, please feel free to contact

For more information about the Global Youth Summit and Global Wisconsin, check out their website.