A joint venture between the Union Baptist Church and the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Global Scholars Academy was designed to connect at-risk Durham area youth to a wide array of intellectual and social capital resources, both “high touch” and virtual. In doing so, our goals are to identify scholar needs and attributes, broaden and deepen their education, diversify their personal networks, and expand their access to potentially life-changing domestic and international experiences.
Global Scholars Academy launched as an independent school on August 19, 2009, with 75 students in grades K-2 who were selected via lottery. We have since expanded to a K-8 charter school by adding a new cohort of 25 kindergarten-age youth each year through 2015. Thanks to Union Baptist Church’s $10 million commitment in 2006 to build the 49,000 square-foot facility, GSA enjoys a state-of-the-art early learning center, thirteen classrooms equipped with the latest education technology, a media center, a gymnasium with a circular walking/jogging track, a fitness center, a health and wellness center, an industrial-sized kitchen and dining area, a dance studio, an animation studio/photojournalism lab, and secure outdoor recreation areas with age-appropriate equipment – and are able to serve as a new community mediating institution in Durham’s most economically distressed community.