By: Hilda Kolawole
The future is unfolding within the walls of Heritage High School; led by the fearless Mr. Macleod, the students in Seminar will be the movers and shakers of the world. With the huge growth of Project Wisdom in 2015, Mr. Macleod had many students tell him they liked the message of the club, but they didn’t have the time to actively participate. So, Global Leadership Seminar was born. If it were to become a class students could participate in Project Wisdom’s goals while gaining academic credit. Macleod’s goal was to create a class in which students could learn how to make a difference in their local and global community, while simultaneously teaching them practical lessons about life as well.
With the idea in mind, Mr. Macleod approached Heritage’s principal, Dr. Savage. Coincidently, at the same time, Wake County was putting out their “strategic plan”, which was a model of what they wanted Wake County education to look like moving forward. Seminar, which incorporated “the four Cs” and growth mindset learning, coincided almost perfectly with the direction Wake County was headed. After getting the class cleared by Dr. Savage, Mr. Macleod then spent the summer of 2015 writing the curriculum for his class.
Mr. Macleod says he owes the success of his first semester to the students he had in the class. In the beginning of August, he had a basic curriculum written out, but it was this first class that really helped him flesh it out and make it concrete. They would meet once a month in class and he would ask them questions about the class in general, how everything was going, what he could improve, and if they were learning well. “This semester [second semester] is the first semester where we have a real strong curriculum in place,” says Mr. Macleod.
Global Leadership Seminar is the only course at Heritage that utilizes standard based grading. Each student begins the class with a zero, and the students will work throughout the semester to gain proficiency in at least 25 of the 37 standards.The 37 standards fall in seven categories and each student must attain at least one standard from each category: content knowledge, cultural understanding, critical thinking, communication, creativity, collaboration and creation. The students complete different projects, and afterwards, they are able to apply for the standards they believe they earned. This teaches students to have a growth mentality; they are not concerned with passing or failing, but the journey they have along the way. Seminar is teaching students to be risk takers and to not be afraid of falling down every once in awhile.
Seminar is a hands-on class in which students are the leaders and teachers of themselves. It incorporates technology and the students’ personal interests. Students work in intervals of three weeks; the first two weeks are spent together working on a different global issue and the third week is independent work on a service-based project that they will work on throughout the semester.
Thanks to the insight and determination of one man and committed students, Heritage High School is one step ahead in solving the world’s problems.