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The Suburbanite
  • Preparing for a global experience

  • The Jackson Academy for Global Learning (JAGS) at Jackson Local Schools was developed and implemented to prepare students to be global citizens. The program provides learning experiences in the classroom, through educational travel, field trips, world language classes, cultural awareness and community and business collaborations.

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  • The Jackson Academy for Global Learning (JAGS) at Jackson Local Schools was developed and implemented to prepare students to be global citizens. The program provides learning experiences in the classroom, through educational travel, field trips, world language classes, cultural awareness and community and business collaborations.
    The JAGS team works with a number of outside resources to build a relevant program, including the Asia Society and the International Studies School Network, two organizations that help public schools develop “globally competent, college-ready high school students.”
    Another guiding resource is a World Language Community Advisory Board, which consists of members from the community, area businesses and professionals from higher education.
    Kathryn Stone, a JAGS world history teacher, said there are representatives from several colleges on the advisory board, including the University of Mount Union, Malone University and the University of Akron.
    “The latest trend for universities around the country is to provide international education programs,” Stone said. “They realize graduates will compete with others from around the world for jobs today and in the future. Language has become a massive component of what we do. It’s no longer just the Western languages such as Italian and German but the Eastern languages such as Chinese, Japanese and Arabic.”
    Jennifer Hall, chair of the department of Foreign Languages and Cultures and faculty director for Center for Global Education at Mount Union, is part of the JAGS advisory committee.
    Mount Union has a foreign language requirement that all students must demonstrate proficiency in a modern foreign language.
    JAGS prepares students to meet this requirement in that, while attending the academy, they will become fluent in at least one language--Chinese, French or Spanish.
    “As the world continues to grow increasingly interconnected, Mount Union students must prepare themselves for global citizenship,” Hall said. “An experience beyond the borders of our country, where students have the opportunity to connect with other cultures and gain new perspectives about their own, is critical for success in the global marketplace. We must all look beyond boundaries and experience the rewards of international relationships.”
    At Malone University, all students have a service learning requirement, and an international learning experience can be selected in place of a local project.
    Nancy Varian, a JAGS advisory member and the director of the Center for Professional Development in the School of Education and Human Development at Malone University, said that many students select the international learning project.
    “Regardless of the major or the career, we all need to be aware of language and culture,” Varian said. “We have to assimilate and involve others. Our students gain as much or more from these experiences as they give.”
    Service learning programs at Malone are created to increase the potential of students to learn the culture of the country they visit. A few of the projects planned for 2013 include teaching majors volunteering a school in Ecuador, nursing students volunteering in Danish hospitals and clinics or science majors volunteering in conservation programs in Biol Costa Rica.
    Page 2 of 2 - Varian said students in the JAGS program will be able to see these experiences through different lenses.
    “The program is doing so much for the students by offering languages, cultural experiences and practical activities,” Varian said.  
    Stone said that collaborating with higher education can help the JAGS students in several ways.
    “Universities have a lot of powerful speakers come to their campuses, and our students and our teachers will be able to go see and hear,” Stone said. “Local colleges also work closely with the business world and understand what students need to compete in the work world, (and) higher education board members offer insights that I can use to build my lesson plans in order to make sure the students are prepared for college.”