The Global Studies and World Languages Academy at Tallwood High School

GSWLA seal

Jessica W. Windish, Coordinator

Focusing on global citizenship, the Global Studies and World Languages Academy provides opportunities for students to develop the intellectual skills needed to make global connections among all disciplines and exercise their global citizenship while contributing to the world around them. This academy offers a rigorous academic curriculum with geography integrated into the subject matter of every course. Three major themes are embedded throughout the curricula and are mirrored in the required seminar courses from 9th to 11th grades: Global Citizenship, Global Perspectives, and Global Systems. The study of two world languages is a requirement for all GSWLA students to ensure that they have the skills necessary to communicate with a broad audience across the globe. Students will choose from eight language offerings: Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Latin, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, and Spanish.  The GSWLA offers students the opportunity to embrace an academic curriculum that will prepare them for an interconnected world and a career in the global economy. This academy will also prepare students for post-secondary education and provide opportunities to investigate the international job market and explore careers across a variety of disciplines.

During their senior year, GSWLA students will take their final seminar course, Global Connections, where they will conduct their senior project.  By this final year, they will also have selected one of nine pathways to focus their in-depth research and take action in the community through their senior project.  Each of these pathways requires knowledge of complex global issues, cultural understanding of their fellow global citizens, and proficiency in at least two world languages.  These nine pathways are: Diplomacy and Politics, Language and Linguistics, STEM and Health, Social or Environmental Activism, Arts and Music, International Business and Economics, Education, History and Culture, or Media and Communications.

GSWLA students experience an academic program specifically designed with a global studies focus, where students are challenged with rigorous course work throughout the four-year program.  Students will take Advanced Placement social studies courses all four years, and Honors, Advanced Placement, or Dual Enrollment English course all four years as well.

Additional curricular offerings at the GSWLA

In addition to the required seminar, Social Studies, and English courses, there is a variety of additional offerings and opportunities linked to the nine pathways that GSWLA students follow. 

  •  Diplomacy and Politics: AP Comparative Government, Leadership in a Global Society, Public Speaking
  •  STEM and Health: AP Biology, Anatomy, AP Environmental Sci, AP Psychology
  •  Education: VTFT, AP Psychology, Leadership in a Global Society, Public Speaking
  •  Social or Environmental Activism: AP Psychology, AP Environmental Sci, Public Speaking
  •  Business and Economics: Leadership in a GS/International Bus and Trade, Marketing, Advanced Entrepreneurship and Innovation, AP Econ (VV)
  •  Language and Linguistics:  AP Languages, Dual Enrollment Languages, Public Speaking
  •  History and Culture: AP European History, AP Comparative Government and Politics, African American History, AP Language
  •  Music and Arts: Band, Chorus, Orchestra, Studio Art, AP Studio Art
  •  Media and Communications: Photography, Digital Communications, Global Media Analysis/Creative Writing, Public Speaking

With the requirement of the study of two world languages, four credits in one language and two credits in a second language, GSWLA students enter life beyond high school prepared to communicate with the world.  Many come to the GSWLA with credits earned in middle school that apply toward the language requirement, but many start their language learning when they walk through doors of the GSWLA.  Regardless of the path, GSWLA students gain the benefit of expanded communication and interpersonal skills as a result.

Typical Course of Study for a GSWLA Student

Below is a sample schedule that a GSWLA student might experience throughout their four years in the program.  This sample course of study is based on a student that earned credits in middle school for Algebra and Environmental Science, and exercised curiosity in a number of the nine GSWLA pathways.  Some courses are required by the Virginia Department of Education, some by the GSWLA, and some meet both VDOE and GSWLA requirements.  Depending on the college/university this student is accepted to and attends, and depending on scores earned for the associated AP exams and dual enrollment courses, this student has the potential to leave high school with a maximum of 42 transferable college credits.

Freshman Year Sophomore Year Junior Year Senior Year
  • World Literature and Composition I
  • AP Human Geography
  • Global Ecology
  • Honors Geometry
  • Global Citizenship Seminar
  • Mandarin Chinese I
  • Health and PE 9
  • Art Foundations
  • World Literature and Composition II
  • AP World History
  • Chemistry
  • Algebra II/Trig
  • Global Perspectives Seminar
  • Mandarin Chinese II
  • Health and PE 10
  • French I
  • AP Language and Composition
  • AP US History
  • AP Environmental Science
  • Math Analysis
  • Global Systems Seminar
  • Mandarin Chinese III
  • French II
  • Economics and Personal Finance
  • Dual Enrollment English
  • AP US Government
  • AP Psychology
  • Dual Enrollment Statistics
  • Global Citizenship Seminar
  • Mandarin Chinese IV
  • French III
  • AP Comparative Government

Beyond the classroom at the GSWLA

With a focus on developing language skills and exercising global citizenship, the GSWLA prides itself on providing opportunities for experiential learning.  Throughout their four years, students will have the opportunity to experience the nine pathways and their associated careers through job shadowing, mock interviewing and internships.  GSWLA students will also have the opportunity to expand their world view by engaging in required cultural experiences and community service through local, national and international organizations, and international student exchange programs established with our partners across the globe.  Additional academic and cultural experiences are available through the relationship that the GSWLA has forged with a variety of public and private student international travel programs.