The Globe Academy is a dual language immersion public charter school that opened during the 2013-2014 school year. The school is authorized by the DeKalb County Board of Education and serves students in Kindergarten through the eighth grade.
As part of the school’s mission and vision, The Globe Academy seeks to create globally-minded citizens and lifelong learners that are equipped to make a positive impact on the world. The school uses a 50/50 Dual Language Immersion (DLI) model for students in grades K-2, which means that half of a student’s instruction time is spent in English and the other half is in a target foreign language. In grades 3-5, students spend an entire instructional day in English or their target language and switch every other day. Students can take one of three language tracks: Spanish, Mandarin and French. When students enter middle school, the immersion language model ends. Middle school students at The Globe Academy take an accelerated foreign language course for high school credit and receive the remainder of their instruction in English.
In addition to Dual Language Immersion, the school takes a constructivist approach to instruction, which is based on learning theories on cognitive, child development and intelligence developed by psychologist Jean Piaget. Under the constructivist approach, students play an active role in the learning process and engage in inquiry to nurture their intellectual development. Students at The GLOBE Academy experience constructivism through a variety of project-based and real-world learning opportunities. The school is also a Responsive Classroom school. Responsive Classroom is an evidence-based teaching approach that places an emphasis on social-emotional learning and academic success.
“My favorite thing is how I have grown and embraced this Dual Language Immersion model,” says Christi Elliott-Earby, Executive Director of The Globe Academy. “It has changed me as an educator, and knowing that education is not one-size-fits-all and that there are different ways to educate has been priceless for me.
Elliott-Earby has been with the school since 2014. During that time, the school has experienced tremendous growth. When she arrived the school had approximately 350 students and 35 staff members. Now, the school, which grew by a grade level per year until it reached the eighth grade, has 1,000 students and 140 staff members. She says the school’s waitlist has also grown. This year, the school had more than 500 applicants for approximately 104 open Kindergarten seats.
The school’s scores on Georgia’s College and Career Ready Performance Index have also improved dramatically. Elliott-Earby says they were in the 70s when she first arrived. In 2017, the school received an overall score of 90.2. Last year, when the CCRPI was updated, The Globe Academy’s overall CCRPI score was 88, which the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement says surpassed 90 percent of the public schools in the state. The Globe Academy was also recognized by DeKalb County year for having at least 80 percent of its students scoring proficient and above in at least one content area on the Georgia Milestones End of Grade and End of Course assessments.
“I love walking in the hall and hearing our students speak another language, and seeing how the Dual Language Immersion model transfers to test scores is phenomenal,” says Elliott-Earby. “I think us working to perfect our curriculum model led to the success, because DLI is not easy. If you are not intentional about, it won’t work.”
She also believes teamwork among staff and teachers has been key.
“This is not a school where you can come in and be by yourself and shut your door. I think the key to the success of our curriculum is collaboration among teachers,” says Elliott-Earby.
She also says The Globe Academy provides constant professional development opportunities for educators and is intentional about its reading and writing curriculum. The Globe Academy also hired a curriculum coordinator and a language coordinator.
Elliott-Earby says as the school enters year one of its five-year strategic plan, the school wants to continue to perfect its Dual Language Immersion program and collaborate with other Dual Language Immersion schools in DeKalb County and throughout the state.
“We want to be a leader in that and be a place where other DLI programs can come and learn. We want to share what we have learned. We don’t want to hide it and keep it to ourselves,” says Elliott-Earby.”
Elliott-Earby says the school also wants to expand on its mission to create global citizens by creating a culminating Dual Language Immersion trip or camp for its eighth-grade students so that every child who leaves the school has that experience.