Upcoming Excursion Details: Scholars Travel to Develop Global Leadership Skills

Global Leadership Academy Charter School 6th-grade scholars leave for Atlanta April 26 to study while other grades prepare for excursions to Canada, the Bahamas and Washington, D.C.

PHILADELPHIA (April 2015) — Global Leadership Academy scholars in Grades 5-8 will embark on four learning excursions starting April 26 to study black history, including the role of African Americans in the Underground Railroad and the Civil Rights Movement.

“We believe our scholars must know where they came from in order to move forward in their education and become global leaders,” Global Leadership Academy CEO Dr. Naomi Johnson-Booker said. “These excursions allow them to understand what freedom really means and to appreciate why they have the ability to travel this world.”

The school curriculum prepares scholars for the annual excursions, with each grade traveling to separate destinations to learn about different periods in black history and also visit historically black colleges and universities. About 98 percent of Global Leadership Academy’s scholars are African American.

Passport to Success
Through Global Leadership Academy’s excursion curriculum, all of the approximately 725 scholars will obtain a U.S. passport before graduation to travel to Canada in seventh grade and the Bahamas in eighth grade.

Scholars begin their global education traveling to sites in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania in Grades K-4, and they start taking multi-day excursions outside of Pennsylvania in fifth grade.

“A global scholar is one who knows the world and understands his or her place in the world,” Dr. Johnson-Booker said. “Global Leadership Academy scholars understand Philadelphia is not just a little place on the map. They understand it is part of the entire world, and they have a role in what happens to our world.”

2015 Excursion Calendar
This year’s excursions for Grades 5-8 are scheduled for:

• April 26-30: The sixth-grade scholars are the first to depart on an excursion this year on a bus trip to Atlanta, Birmingham and Memphis to learn about the Civil Rights Movement and the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Their bus departs from Global Leadership Academy at 6 a.m. April 26.

• May 10-14: Seventh-grade scholars travel via bus to Niagara Falls in Canada to study the Underground Railroad network of abolitionist Harriet Tubman and return home through Detroit and Cincinnati. Their bus departs Global Leadership Academy at 6 a.m. May 10.

• May 16-22: Eighth-grade scholars travel by train to Florida to embark on a cruise ship to the Bahamas to study African Diaspora, the mass dispersion of Africans during the Transatlantic Slave Trades from the 1500s to the 1800s. Scholars depart from 30th Street Station in Philadelphia at 12:35 p.m. May 16.

• June 1-2: Fifth-grade scholars travel via bus to visit key historical sites in Washington, D.C.

Alumni Connections in Atlanta
During this year’s sixth-grade-class excursion, there is a unique connection between Global Leadership Academy and Clark Atlanta University. One of the sixth-grade teachers accompanying scholars on the trip recently graduated from Clark, and two Clark students who graduated from Global Leadership Academy in 2010 will be serving as tour guides.

Paige Davis and Ribekia Jenkins are both finishing their first year as biology majors at Clark Atlanta University. When they learned GLA was coming to their college, they readily volunteered to serve as tour guides.

“I think it will be more exciting for them knowing I attended GLA, and the scholars will be able to see how GLA truly does prepare you to become a future leader,” Ribekia said. “I also am excited about doing this for GLA because of everything the school did for me when I was a scholar.”

One of their most memorable experiences at Global Leadership Academy for Paige and Ribekia was their excursion to the Bahamas during their final year.

“Our class was the first class to have the trip to the Bahamas, and I will never forget it as long as I live,” Paige said. “I remember everything about it and also attending GLA. If GLA would have had a high school, I would have gone because everyone is like family at GLA. I just loved the school.”

Paige and Ribekia both return to GLA often to visit with teachers and staff. Ribekia also volunteers at the school on her vacations and breaks from college.

Another GLA graduate who will be graduating from Philadelphia High School for Girls in June will be joining them on the trip because she has been accepted to Spelman College, which is Dr. Johnson-Booker’s alma mater. Tijah White said she applied to Spelman because she wanted to follow in Dr. Johnson-Booker’s footsteps. Although she has already been accepted to Spelman, this will be her first visit to the campus.

“I am so proud of her accomplishments,” Dr. Johnson-Booker said. “Global Leadership Academy has a growing number of graduates who are now attending college and becoming future leaders of the world.”

Global Leadership Academy Director Orikka Blanding-Choice said the unique opportunity to have two former GLA scholars serve as tour guides and also have a GLA graduate accompany them on the tour are examples of the many interesting connections that have occurred during the annual excursions.

“Although the excursions follow similar itineraries each year, usually each class has a unique or memorable experience,” Blanding-Choice said. “Last year, one eighth-grade scholar had the rare opportunity to visit an aunt during the Bahamas excursion. Next year, one of our scholars will be visiting a school in the Bahamas named after her grandfather.”

Traveling Classroom Curriculum
During each of the excursions, Global Leadership Academy teachers hold mobile classrooms while traveling via bus, train and ship to present historical lessons to scholars in preparation for the museums and other historical sites they will tour. Scholars also are responsible for keeping journals during each excursion. Visits to other charter and public schools also are included on each excursion.

“The excursions speak to the mission of our school to develop our scholars into global leaders,” Orikka Blanding-Choice said. “In order for our scholars to embrace the history and background of world cultures and leaders, they have to know their own.”

Excursion Itineraries
The itinerary for each excursion is planned to the hour, with the days packed full of educational, historical, cultural and social opportunities.

Grade 6: The Civil Rights Movement
• Atlanta (April 27-28) — Clark Atlanta University and Spelman and Morehouse colleges, Charles R. Drew Charter School, CNN television news studio, the World of Coca-Cola and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.
• Birmingham (April 28) — The Birmingham Civil Rights Museum, Kelly Ingram Park and the 16th Street Baptist Church.
• Memphis (April 29) — The National Civil Rights Museum, Freedom Academy Charter School visit, Memphis University tour and the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum.

Grade 7: The Underground Railroad
• Niagara Falls, Canada (April 10) — Maid of the Mist boat ride and other attractions, including Ripley’s Moving Theatre, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks.
• Ontario, Canada (April 11-12): North American Black Historical Museum, Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site, Indian Creek Public Elementary School, Buxton National Historic Site and Museum.
• Detroit (April 13) — Charles H. Wright Museum and the Motown Museum.
• Cincinnati (April 14) — Underground Railroad Museum.

Grade 8: African Diaspora
• Philadelphia (May 16) — Depart from the 30th Street Station to travel by train to Florida.
• Port Canaveral, Fla. (May 17) — Board the Carnival Sensation cruise ship.
• Freeport, Bahamas (May 18) — Island tour and cultural activities.
• Nassau, Bahamas (May 19) — Local school visit and GLA scholar performance.

Grade 5: The Nation
• Washington, D.C. (June 1-2) — Various sites related to the history of the United States.

About: Global Leadership Academy Charter School, located in West Philadelphia, is a public school authorized by the School District of Philadelphia for Grades K-8. The 725-seat academy offers a holistic and expeditionary teaching and learning program through global studies and leadership development with a goal of nurturing scholars to be creative leaders who are globally competitive yet compassionate.