How do you measure the degree of global education in your school? On May 23–24, 2008, the directors of global education from 16 independent schools from across the nation gathered at Cape Henry Collegiate School (Virginia) for the inaugural conference of the Global Education Benchmark Group. Jack Lewis, Cape Henry’s head, opened the conference by stating, “There is no progress without measurement.”
With that in mind, members from the four founding schools — Lawrenceville School (New Jersey), Charlotte Country Day (North Carolina), Lakeside School (Washington), and Cape Henry Collegiate — set out to form the first benchmark group specifically targeting global education. In partnership with NAIS and with guidance from Paul Miller, NAIS director of global initiatives, Cape Henry hosted representatives of top global programs to attend the first conference. Sixteen schools from San Francisco to Miami to Boston responded and formed the core schools for the first Global Education Benchmark Group.
The group’s first task was to create a mission statement. The mission of the Global Education Benchmark Group is to improve the global education practices of its members by:
- establishing benchmarks for members’ programs and practices; and
- creating, sharing, and comparing information about their global-oriented programs and practices, meeting at least once a year.
Information to be used to benchmark global education programs will include the following: comparing the number of students sent abroad each year, the percentage of graduating classes with global travel experience, the percentage of students receiving aid for global travel, the schools’ global education budgets, the global education endowments, and more. Among the many tasks targeted, the group has agreed to compile a database of countries visited, rating tour operators and fees charged.
By benchmarking programs, independent schools can establish strengths and weaknesses that need to be addressed. For example, how important is it that more students are participating in overseas programs in Asia, but far fewer in Africa? By compiling the cumulative knowledge of myriad global education programs, all of the schools benefit and all of the students come out winners. The next Global Education Conference will be hosted by Lakeside School in Seattle, in the fall of 2009. For more information on the Global Education Benchmark Group, contact Willy Fluharty, director of Cape Henry’s Nexus Program, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inaugural members of the Global
Education Benchmark Group
Bryn Mawr School
CAIS Institute, and the Chinese American International School
Cape Henry Collegiate School
Charlotte Country Day School
Charlotte Latin School
Harpeth Hall School
Palmer Trinity School
Providence Day School
St. Marks School Wilbraham-Monson Academy