George School Awarded Educational Leadership Grant for New Global Service Program
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
George School has been selected to receive a $250,000 matching Educational Leadership Grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation for the purpose of creating a new Global Service Program. George School is among the first five independent schools to be awarded Educational Leadership Grants, which the foundation introduced this year to allow schools “to develop truly transformative new programs, which will strengthen independent education.”
Head of School Nancy Starmer stated, “George School faculty have established and led international service trips for over sixty years as an opportunity for students to learn about Quaker values such as equality, social justice, and peacemaking. We are deeply honored that the Edward E. Ford Foundation has affirmed the success of our service programs and recognized our vision of a new Global Service Program as one that is ‘truly transformative.’”
The Edward E. Ford Foundation invited twenty schools to apply for the Educational Leadership Grants on the basis of their demonstrated capacity for transformative thinking, and their strong stewardship of previous grants from the foundation. The foundation noted that George School has “perhaps the longest-running commitment of any school in the country” to international service trips.
George School’s history of international service began in 1947, when the school took part in post-World War II reconciliation efforts by establishing relationships with two schools in Germany. George School students donated supplies to the German students and worked side by side with them to help rebuild their schools. Today, in addition to engaging in ongoing service at local sites in Bucks County, George School students participate in service projects in countries such as Costa Rica, France, India, Nicaragua, South Africa, South Korea, and Vietnam, as well as domestic locations such as Arizona, coastal Louisiana, coastal Mississippi, and Washington DC. To fulfill George School’s sixty-five-hour service project requirement, students can participate in a trip, engage in local service, or devise an independent project.
The new Global Service Program is envisioned as an opportunity for students and high school educators from a variety of schools worldwide, including some from George School. Plans for the program include two components: a Summer International Program in which students prepare for and participate in an international service trip, and a Service Learning Faculty Institute that provides training for faculty interested in implementing service learning programs. Planning for the programs is currently underway, with a pilot program launch targeted for the summer of 2009.