International Studies Schools prepare minority and low-income high school students not only to attend college, but also to succeed as citizens of the world.
The 2006 ground breaking for the Vaughn International Studies Academy (VISA) in the poverty-blighted community of Pacoima, California, was cause for celebration. VISA is the 9–12 extension of the Vaughn 21st Century Learning Center, a preK–8 charter school that has achieved remarkable success in accelerating the achievement of its low-income Latino students. VISA was created to be the capstone of their journey, not only preparing them for college but also ensuring that they develop the broad knowledge of the world that would help them succeed in the 21st-century global environment. Amid the festivities, a reporter asked, "But why do those kids need to know about the world?"
The assumption behind the reporter's question was clear. It's sufficiently difficult to boost low-income minority students' academic outcomes enough to get them into college. Why bother to teach them about the world beyond U.S. borders? VISA, however, is one of a national network of 13 international studies schools that are challenging that outdated assumption.
New Needs for All Students