The Shipley Magazine

Expanding Global Programs During a Global Pandemic

Kristin Shipler
Developing a global perspective is one of the goals of a Shipley education. Students learn about other cultures in their academic courses and through a number of extracurricular opportunities. While global travel opportunities have traditionally been a highlight of our program, COVID has limited our ability to bring students out into the world. Still, even during a global pandemic, we have sought to expand Global Programs at Shipley and bring the world to our students through exciting opportunities on campus.

During the 2021–2022 school year we introduced the Global Programs and Education Club in the Upper School. This year, the group will partner with the Service Learning Committee to enhance schoolwide efforts aimed at inspiring compassionate participation in the world. The group will also focus on Educational Excellence as it relates to fostering global citizenship among our student body and faculty.

In our launch year, we hosted global virtual exchanges in partnership with the Global Education Benchmark Group (GEBG), of which The Shipley School is a member. The Middle and Upper School exchanges are based on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Students join conversations, either individually or as part of a course, with peers from around the world. The conversations are adult facilitated but student led. Through this exchange, we have learned about initiatives such as one group of students tackling food waste by building robots, and another group advocating for more empowering and gender-inclusive dress codes.

Another Shipley initiative included a Global Film Fest, a series of three full-length foreign films offered to the Upper School student body and faculty. The group showcased films from Ethiopia, South Korea, and Argentina. In addition to the films, participants enjoyed food from the host countries. (The Korean fried chicken, provided by Bethany Yang ’25, was particularly popular.)

Participation in the virtual exchanges had an obvious goal: raising awareness of how our peers deal with the issues most important around the globe. For the film fest, we wanted to showcase how we can enjoy cinema (and get exposure to other cultures), even when having to read subtitles! This is just the beginning. In addition to our partnership with Brain Tree Primary School in Uganda and supporting all the global fundraising efforts for refugees from Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Haiti, we hope to increase our impact around campus. We want to pique the interest of every student and adult, whether by providing fast facts during a bake sale or singing a Ugandan chant on stage at Super Saturday.

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The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.