-Alexa Wiker, ’23
Global Community Citizenship is a new class that has been added to all high schools in Anne Arundel County this year.
Global Community Citizenship, or GCC for short, is a one-semester class. It counts as an elective, and it is a half credit. The class is designed to explore the values and diversity of our local, national, and global communities. Active learning and effective civil discourse are some of the key skills the course teaches. It explores concepts such as bias, empathy, and inclusion. GCC is required for all freshmen as of this school year.
Despite the class being required, a lot of students like it. “I like how relaxed the class is. It’s not as stressful as some of my other classes,” Madeline Fisher, a 9th grader, said. Katelyn Chino has a similar viewpoint. “Global Community Citizenship is really interesting. I’m glad we had to take it,” Chino said.
However, some of the topics discussed in the class might be too intense for some people. “We do a lot of debates, which I don’t like,” Megan Oslislo said. “The topics we debate are not topics that everyone is comfortable talking about. Some of them, like racism, are pretty heavy.” This, though, is the point of the class: to give students a way to learn and feel comfortable about controversial topics in our society.
Mrs. Russo is one of the many teachers of GCC. She thinks that the class should definitely be required for freshmen because she can already see the impact it is having on them. “Global Community Citizenship is a really good class. I am already seeing immediate results with the freshmen who have taken it- they are more mature and willing to discuss difficult topics,” Mrs. Russo said.
Most of the activities in GCC involve doing a project or having a discussion. Some of the projects include creating an “Activating Change” poster about a problem in our county and making a community brochure highlighting the facts students know about their communities.
Debates are also a big part of the class. Students practice civil discourse and listening skills during debates. The class gets to choose which debate topic they want to talk about. Some of the topics include abortion, racism, climate change, and police brutality. One of the first discussions GCC classes have is about establishing classroom norms so that everyone in the class feels comfortable. Other discussions are about implicit bias and stereotypes.
This course was added to help students see themselves and others as important people in their communities. It was also added to help students build awareness and understand the perspectives and differences of other students. Teachers for this class were carefully selected and had to attend mandatory teacher professional development. Some parents were worried that teachers were going to be indoctrinating politics and religious preferences during GCC, but that is not the case. The teachers are there to help students understand a wide range of politics, religions, and cultures.