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GLA Overview

About Global Leadership Academy Charter School


The mission of Global Leadership Academy Charter School is to “prepare the future leaders of the world” through an international and expeditionary curriculum.


Located in West Philadelphia, Global Leadership Academy serves approximately 700 students in kindergarten through eighth grade in a retrofitted industrial building in West Philadelphia in the 4600 block of West Girard Avenue.


Students are referred to as scholars to convey the high expectations for the aptitude of study. Scholars are grouped into three learning communities: The Rising Stars Academy for Grades K-2, The Legendary Leaders Academy for Grades 3-6 and The Collegiate Academy for Grades 7-8. This follows the Schools-Within-a-Schools Model to capture some of the benefits of a small scale school to increase the scholar’s sense of well-being and community, achievement and educational attainment.


Global Leadership Academy offers its scholars a pathway to success and opportunities to experience the world beyond their neighborhood through educational travel to local, state, national and international historic and cultural sites.


Every scholar starts their day at the “top of the world” at Global Leadership Academy through the global tower, a glass-domed entry with a map of the world on the floor to remind students that the “sky is the limit.”


Every Global Leadership Academy scholar will graduate with a U.S. Passport and the experience of traveling out of the country to Canada and the Bahamas through studies of the Underground Railroad and slave trade routes.


The international and expeditionary-based components of the school’s highly successful academic curriculum have earned Global Leadership Academy a reputation for transforming the lives of its scholars. As such, it has become one of the most sought-after public charter schools in the School District of Philadelphia, with annual enrollment waiting lists of more than 1,000 children.


The core subjects of reading, writing, math and science remain at the foundation of Global Leadership Academy’s curriculum; other key offerings include foreign language studies, art and music. Technology also is deployed and encouraged to connect Global Leadership Academy scholars with students in other communities, states, countries and continents.


Global Leadership Academy’s holistic approach to education recognizes the important role of student health in academic performance. Partnerships with community organizations, businesses and government agencies help provide scholars with healthy foods and snacks and nutritional education and fitness programs.


Health, wellness and fitness are infused into the culture of Global Leadership Academy just as international and leadership studies are infused into its curriculum.


Expeditionary studies are introduced to scholars through a well-planned itinerary that begins in the elementary grades with visits to local sites in Philadelphia, progressing to state, national and international sites before they graduate.


Grades K-2: Scholars begin exploring the world by venturing throughout Philadelphia to discover its historic and cultural influences on the country and the world.


Grades 3-4: Scholars travel beyond the city limits to historic and cultural sites throughout the state to locations such as Harrisburg to learn about state government and Lancaster to learn about farming and the Amish culture.


Grade 5: Scholars explore Washington, D.C., using the skills they learned in previous grades to make analytical observations during visits to key attractions.


Grade 6: Scholars have reached a crucial point in their global studies journey and will take a multi-day excursion to historic sites in the Civil Rights Movement, following the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with stops in Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia.


Grade 7: Scholars obtain U.S. Passports prior to embarking on an excursion to Canada via Niagara Falls to study the Underground Railroad network of abolitionist Harriet Tubman, with a stop at the National Underground Railroad Museum in Ohio.


Grade 8: Scholars complete their global studies by boarding a cruise ship to the Bahamas to study African Diaspora or the mass dispersion of slaves during the Transatlantic Slave Trades from the 1500s to the 1800s.


The expeditionary education offered at Global Leadership Academy provides scholars with experiences that will last them a lifetime. Global Leadership Academy scholars become endowed with the knowledge, abilities and fortitude needed to continue carving out new paths in the global community after graduation. The development of emotional, social and spiritual intelligence will propel students to persist through high school and attain their life mission and goals.


DEMOGRAPHICS (2013-2014):

The base of enrollment is predominately in the West Philadelphia community in which the school is located, but Global Leadership Academy also attracts students from other areas of the city, including Southwest Philadelphia, North Philadelphia, Northeast Philadelphia and Northwest Philadelphia.


  • Total Enrollment: 722
  • Race: 98 percent black or African American
  • Income: 84 percent are economically disadvantaged and eligible for the reduced or free school lunch program
  • Gender: 56 percent female and 44 percent male
  • Special Education: 11 percent
  • Gifted Students: 4.6 percent


Beyond GLA:

  • Scholars advance to charter, magnet, and neighborhood high schools throughout the city.
  • The number of GLA alumni who ultimately advance to college each year continues to grow due to the foundation prepared through their GLA journey and experiences gained during their two years in our Collegiate Academy.