Global Exchange – The World IS Flat at Léman – RIISE Spotlight with Sarah Polland



The 2005 book, The World is Flat, written by Thomas Friedman,  looked ahead 20 years encouraging us to get ready for how ‘global will resemble local’ in practically every aspect of our lives. Global education and how it’s done has been a focus for many of our independent schools. Travel abroad with student exchange programs is one of the major ways they are preparing our students for 21st century global leadership.

A 2007 educational leadership archive, Becoming Citizens of the World , by ASCD-goes on to identify four trends that we continue to watch transform us today. “In short, US high school graduates will, sell to the world, buy from the world, work for international companies, manage employees from other cultures and countries, collaborate with people all over the world in joint ventures, compete with people on the other side of the world for jobs and markets….”

We connected with Sarah Polland, Head of Upper School at member school, Léman Manhattan Preparatory, a PreK-12 international day and boarding school located in lower Manhattan, to share more about their “world view from every window”


As an international school you sit in a unique position to experience the rapid pace of globalization. What countries are represented at Léman?
SP: Though we have students from around the world in our international boarding proagram, including: Sweden, Mexico, Korea, Japan, Russia, Andorra, Brazil, Germany, Siberia, Kazakhstan, the majoirity of our internatinoal boarders come from China.


Many schools, boarding and day are doing heavy international recruitment. Do you feel international diversity will begin to outpace domestic diversity?
SP: I do not think international diversity will outpace domestic diversity. Here at Leman we pride ourselves on being extremely diverse in all accounts of diversity. We do not see it as international diversity versus domestic diversity, but rather celebrate all the diversity present at our school.


Léman provides a boarding component to it’s international students. Can you share three ways international students are supported and included into the school culture at Léman?
SP: There is a lot of attention given to helping our boarding students integrate with our day population. International students are paired with day students at the beginning of the year as a way to help foster at least one relationship. All high school students attend a 3 day overnight trip at the first month of school for the purpose of building relationships and a sense of community. Finally, there is a Boarding Representative position on the student government, to ensure that all boarding students have a voice in our community.


bonus question!

How is travel exchange built into the curriculum for Léman domestic students?
As a part of the Meritas network of schools, Leman is part of a “three campuses, one school” program with our sister schools in China and Switzerland. This program allows for student exchanges as well as eventual teacher exchanges. Exchanges also take place through programs like Touchpoints, where students SKYPE with students at other schools about global world issues.


Parents, how are we preparing our kids for 21st century global leadership? Share any best practices you’ve got!



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