The Power of Collaboration

Chris Fontana_GLSI_croppedIt really does take a village: this past August, Global Visionaries (GV) collaborated with seven organizations to host the Global Leadership Summer Institute for educators. The Institute included 22 educators from five states. Throughout the weeklong Institute, educators learned how to create a truly democratic classroom in which students can become engaged global leaders.

But what is a democratic classroom? Simply put a democratic classroom is where educators teach and students learn in an environment where both are empowered. Its bottom up, not top down. Where students have a platform to inform policy and curriculum. Student councils are empowered to have a real say in how issues are addressed in their schools and communities. And the student body take responsibility for their classroom environments, fostering leadership and empowerment, and take positive action. This is what teachers who attend our Institute learn; that we cannot teach responsibility, we can only share it.

Results and success from the Institute were reflected in feedback from participant Lisa Westerfield, a Global Contexts For Leadership Pathway Teacher and Curriculum Developer at Newark Charter Jr/Sn High School, Newark, DE. She reports,

“I held my first class meeting in my Global Leadership II class. I just wanted to let you know it was amazing.  The students are bought into the idea of class jobs and how the class will be structured. They also like the idea of adopting an elementary classroom this year too.  One wonderful action took place was when one of my returning students who last year was quiet and rarely participated, without intense prompting volunteered for a leadership class job that will require her to be the spokesperson for the class when speaking with our principal. Wonderful outcome for a first meeting.”

GV’s commitment is to shepherd in an era in which educators and students, parents and youth, collaborate powerfully on a higher level of thought and interaction. But it takes a village and GV is just part of this picture. This year’s Institute and the positive outcomes of each educators’ experience, would not have been possible without GV’s valued partners and funders: Seattle University School of Education, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Seattle Public Schools; as well as GV’s educational partners, Center for Teaching Quality, World Affairs Council, Global Weeks and Facing the Future, all providing facilities and resources to the Institute.

For our imperiled Earth, and the humans and other beings who live on it, these interactions are invaluable to the successes of our future.

By Chris Fontana, Global Visionaries

The Global Leadership Summer Institute for Educators is scheduled for August 3 – 7, 2015. If you are interested in participating, volunteering, or financially supporting the Institute, please contact


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