The Altamont School

- Global Initiative -

The world is as connected as it has ever been, and daily, those networks and pathways expand. Yet, gaps endure. Altamont hopes to be a player in bridging those gaps.

In June 2015, The Altamont School was awarded a $50,000 Upper School grant with a $50,000 matching component to initiate and aggressively propel our Global Initiative into life. A 5th—12th college preparatory school in Birmingham, Altamont enjoys and embodies the rich cultural diversity of Alabama’s most cosmopolitan city. Our proximity to world class research and arts institutions compels us to contribute to that rich culture.

To that end, we’ve conceived of The Global Initiative. The Initiative seeks to reinforce the school mission by providing our students with a variety of globally compelling and immersive opportunities that expose students to global realities; educate them about global issues; and engender creativity, curiosity, and compassion. Although in our infancy, we are working towards becoming a true center, a hub for continuing education, exposure, and dialogue in the Birmingham community.

Currently, the Global Initiative employs a multi-pronged approach to enhancing the experiences of both our school and our city. In addition, each school year is guided by one of a cycle of themes—ranging from water to cultural identity.

The theme provides teachers and students a framework for their annual global endeavors. The themes make each year unique, and we revisit them once the cycle completes, to see how they’ve changed—how we’ve changed. Within Academic life, the Initiative promotes and supports global inclusion in the curriculum. This includes providing materials, recruiting guests, or promoting professional development opportunities. Our Idea Lab offers students and faculty an opportunity to apply for grants to support development and projects that are global in nature, which will enhance the community. The Initiative’s most visible presence is through extra-curricular endeavors. We bring globally relevant guests to campus for assemblies or public lectures, organize symposia, and promote global arts. Several extra-curricular highlights of the 2015-16 school year have been our Global Film Series, a program with The Alabama Symphony’s dynamic new Music Director Carlos Izcaray, and a visit from His Excellency, the Belgian Ambassador to the United States, Johan Verbeke. Finally, the Initiative is proud to host the GELL Presentation Series, an opportunity for traditional lectures, multimedia presentations, and performances—all aligned with the annual global theme that is open to the community. All members of the Altamont Community can present at GELL. Expertise is welcome but not a prerequisite; we're looking for passion, perspective, and creativity. An idea that changes any life is one worth sharing.

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Niko Tsivourakis, Global Initiative Director