Our school is part of a global network of schools in Wake County. We also are a part of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme. (Yes, spelled with “me”!) And on top of it all, our state has included an emphasis on Global and 21st Century Skills to teach our students. All of these are big words with big meanings for little people. And yet, the visible elements I see everyday in classrooms. The literature that teachers are selecting, the multiple viewpoints students are given, and the language learning offered. I am proud of how our school continues to encourage our students to view their own world through this lens.

Early release days are opportunities that our staff is provided valuable time for professional development. It is our turn to become students and learn. And that learning then transfers to the classroom. At our last early release time, we went global in our own community. Staff focused on creating real-world teaching and learning to better engage and create rigor for our students. (Check out the video on Joyner’s front page.) Taking these opportunities enhance the already incredible instruction daily at Joyner.

Only a couple of weeks later, the second graders went to the farmer’s market. Although many of our students might have already experienced going to the market with their families, the teachers asked the students to use the lens of economics to view this part of their world differently. Many students shared incredible stories about their conversations with vendors that tapped our students to view globally their own world.

I often think that when we say global we can be overwhelmed with the whole world. But I believe it begins with us looking at where we are and the world around us. Our students, being IB learners, are encouraged to be aware of their own surroundings. Our students see someone hurt and stop to help. Our students see an injustice and find me to let me know. Our students are learning to see their own world and how they can impact it. Allow our students to continue to unveil for us the world we live in. Encourage their questions about their world and let them explore their answers.

Joyner students will become the leaders we need in our world.