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EHS partners with Edina Rotary for new global studies program

Aerial view of Kuhlman stadium with water tower in foreground.
EHS partners with Edina Rotary for new global studies program

Edina High School (EHS) has partnered with two Edina Rotary Clubs and the Edina Education Fund for a new program that will encourage and inspire students to prepare for global careers. The Edina Rotary Global Scholar program will provide opportunities for students to connect with the Edina Rotary for mentoring and leadership training. Students will also work with peers from other countries on projects that have a global impact, and follow a learning pathway that will be recognized at graduation.

The Edina Rotary Global Scholar program emerged from Edina Public Schools (EPS) staff realizing there was a strong link with the service mission of the Rotary and EPS’ mission of equipping students to thrive in a rapidly changing, culturally diverse, global society. “In addition to EPS staff, Josh Sprague from the Rotary and Kathy Rendleman, from the Edina Education Fund, were instrumental in finding a way to strengthen the EHS/Rotary/Ed Fund partnership,” said Andy Beaton, EHS principal.

Students interested in the program must complete significant study of a world language or demonstrate bilingual proficiency. Global collaboration is also required of students. This can be realized through culturally immersive service learning, travel-based learning, or hosting an international exchange student. The program also includes a capstone requirement tied to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and a pathway of study beyond graduation requirements. Students can choose from a concentration in STEM, fine arts, or humanities. Global scholars will receive recognition at graduation and may have opportunities for Rotary scholarships.

Lindsey Smaka, EHS science teacher, has been hired as a part-time coordinator for the Edina Rotary Global Scholar program. In the coming weeks, Smaka will meet with EHS counselors and the Rotary to prepare information for students, teachers, and families. This opportunity will be introduced to current 10-12th graders. In their sophomore year, students will declare their intent to participate in this pathway. “The impact this program will have on our students is profound,” said Beaton. “Students will have greater participation in Rotary programming, complete rigorous independent study through a capstone project, and develop greater global competencies while furthering goals of the United Nations' and the mission of Rotary International.”