When administrators at Liberty High School in Liberty, Missouri, wanted to expand global education at the 2,000-student school, they went all in by creating a microschool called Empowering Discovery of the Global Experience, or the EDGE.
Principal April Adams and Assistant Principal Sara Wickham helped design the program and get district support to convert a wing of the school for the classes, which use the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals as a foundation for learning.
With the EDGE’s globally focused curriculum set to complement the school’s core academic standards-based lessons, the program launched this school year with 110 students. But when planning for this inaugural class, Adams and Wickham knew one thing was missing — the practical, hands-on experience of working directly with international communities.
Through a little bit of research, Wickham found the nonprofit Global Brigades program, which connects high school and college students with projects addressing real-life challenges in healthcare, water supplies and economic development in a variety of countries across the world.
For its first project, 13 EDGE students are working on a community development program in Honduras. Although the students just recently got started and are still determining what the specifics of their project will be, Wickham and Adams said they’ve already seen benefits from the virtual connections students are making with project leaders in Honduras.
“With what our students have explained, with what their experience has been and how excited they are to be able to have the international connection even though we’re grounded during the pandemic, to me it’s just so fantastic,” said Adams. “That’s what school is about. It’s about getting that spark back into learning.”