"A global citizen is one who not only dreams of a better place but tries their best to rebuild it for the benefit of others. They believe that if we work together this world can be all we have hoped for. They believe they can make a difference, that we can be the change, but we cannot do it alone. They do not wait for someone to take action, instead they take action. They are willing to carry a small burden if it means a big change."

--MCDS fifth grade student

When MCDS fifth grade teacher, Jen Seely, returned from The Cloud Institute in NYC, she and her fifth grade colleagues, Mary Katherine Menikheim, Clara Greisman, Kyle Redford, and Jen Cronin Flinn worked together to apply what she had learned about Educating for Sustainability (EFS) to develop and deepen their social studies curriculum. They wanted to combine global awareness, problem-solving and action to build a new curriculum that would educate students for engaged global citizenship.

They immediately encountered philosophical obstacles. It is one thing to teach Chinese to students or instruct students about how to find China on a map. It is a whole other challenge to teach young students how to make observations and generate questions that will fuel them to want to think outside their national borders and try to address global problems without despair, pity or guilt; but this was the goal.

Experts and change makers were brought in, stories were shared, and teachers agreed to be flexible as they all learned together. The end result was nothing short of transformational for the fifth grade students. Not one of the fifth grade teachers would have dared to hope that students could travel such a significant distance in a school year. Maybe they were responding to their teachers enthusiasm and genuine engagement as they learned and risked alongside their students. The hope is that the curriculum has an authenticity that transcends that first year and the teachers who created it as they went.