FWPS joins Global Partnership Program

Federal Way Public Schools' (FWPS) efforts to implement the district's Global Learning Initiative got a big boost earlier this week when the district announced it had been selected as a participant in the Global Partnership Program.

The program is an international effort involving approximately 1,000 schools across several countries. Participating countries include the U.S., Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Colombia, Senegal, Uruguay and the U.K. (England and Scotland).

"We are thrilled and honored to be a part of this innovative program that will connect our students with students from around the globe," Superintendent Rob Neu said in a press release. "It is the foundation of our effort to bring a global education to Federal Way. The goal is to ensure our students can succeed in a country that is more diverse and a world that is more connected and more competitive than at any time in history."

The Global Partnership Program is headed by Dr. Michael Fullan, a world-renowned education expert credited with a wildly successful turnaround of the school system in Ontario, Canada. Famous corporate names are also involved with the program, including Microsoft, Intel and Promethean.

According to the district, the program "will challenge and support school systems by promoting global collaboration, uncovering and scaling education innovation, and changing the learning relationship between teachers and students to make learning more engaging and productive."

FWPS communications director Deb Stenberg noted that the district's participation in the program is meant to act as a catalyst for all layers of Federal Way's education system.

"The intent is to deeply engage all layers of education systems in the mobilization process, from system and school leadership to teachers, students, parents and community stakeholders," Stenberg wrote in an email to The Mirror. "FWPS students will have the opportunity to collaborate with students from around the world. FWPS staff will have an opportunity to work with international education expert Michael Fullan, his team and educators from around the world."

Stenberg also noted that any possible costs for participation in the program are being worked out at this time.

"We are in the very early stages of developing this partnership and sponsorship, and our next steps will be to flesh out the various roles of the entities involved," she said.

As part of the district's Global Learning Initiative, Neu and board members have taken a number of trips in the past year. Among the destinations they visited were China, South Korea, and a number of European countries as recently as September. The costs for these trips have ranged from as little as approximately $600 to up to $60,000 for the most recent trip to Europe. The trips, and their associated costs, have been a point of contention in recent weeks between the board and the public.


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