Winsor students spent five days immersed in the study of disease, seeking solutions to global health challenges during Global Forum 2019.
This week, Winsor students wrapped perhaps one of their most ambitious academic challenges to date: the 2019 Global Forum. For five days, students, faculty and staff -- as well as numerous parents, alumnae, family and friends -- were immersed in the study of disease as a global health crisis.
Pushed to think for themselves, collaborate, and focus on process as much as outcome, students spent the week "leaning into discomfort," as Winsor's director of global studies Brian Didier said at the start of the week. (click here to read more about the Global Forum and the opening day speaker.) And whether they faced the challenge of the second ever forum with trepidation, or with unbridled enthusiasm, students walked away with a realization of just how much they are capable of when they put their minds to it.
"It was amazing to watch how the students rose to the challenge over the course of the week," says science teacher Nicole Uhre-Balk. At the outset, "the problems seemed so hard to tackle that they really seemed overwhelming. But then the groups began to realize that given the time and space, it's amazing what you can come up with."
The independent study undertaken by each group was given structure by the Design for Change framework, and each group followed a rubric in designing and delivering a final presentation before a panel of parent judges.
While many of the students said their biggest challenge of the week was preparing to present, the designers behind the program knew it was an essential piece. Ms. Uhre-Balk agrees, noting, "Presenting before a panel of judges added another layer of realism to the whole process. Not only did the students deal with real world issues facing real people, but they ultimately presented their findings to people in the community who cared enough to want to be here to hear what they had to say."
An incredible lineup of workshops featuring experts in various fields offered guidance for the students throughout the week. "The purpose of the workshops was not necessarily for the students to learn about their exact disease or place, but to hear from experts about their experiences in the field; and then to think about how to apply these lessons more broadly to their work over the course of the week," notes Ann-Marie Holland, economics and history teacher and a member of the Global Forum planning committee.
"We were so fortunate to have so many community members -- both past and present -- believe in our vision for the forum and the unique learning opportunity it presents. And we are so thankful that they were willing to take the time to share their knowledge and experience with the students," Ms. Holland adds. "It was incredible."
If you haven't done so already, please take a moment to check out the blog posts shared by the four Winsor seniors who reported on the forum all week. And enjoy the gallery of photos of the students hard at work stamping out global health crises, one disease at a time.