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Citizens of the World

At Old Trail, learning about other people and places goes far beyond school fairs and field trips.

Through the Center for Global Understanding, our skilled educators guide our students on immersive adventures both within the classroom and to different corners of the world. This experience-driven learning extends our campus and curriculum to give students stronger social and cultural awareness, strengthen interpersonal and communicative skills, and nurture the empathy required to thrive in an increasingly interconnected society.

Center for Global Understanding Programs

Our faculty work thoughtfully to plan exciting, engaging experiences for every stage of development. Our emphasis on global citizenship is a continuation of our promise to nurture a strong sense of ethics, awareness, and character in every child.

Kindergarten Global Explorers

There is nothing more inspiring to young learners than being mentored by the older students they look up to. Our youngest students travel the world in their classrooms with their Middle School “apprentice teachers” through the Kindergarten Global Explorers program. Middle schoolers apply the skills and knowledge they’ve gained through the relationships they’ve built with their own mentors and teachers. They perform comprehensive research on an assigned topic, educate their younger peers about a particular culture, country, or people, and strengthen their executive functioning for high school and beyond.

Project 345

Designed for students in grades 3-5, Project 345 is a gateway to social entrepreneurship that blends elements of global citizenship, business management and financial literacy. By engaging with global nonprofits, students are able to gain a more comprehensive understanding of global issues and the collaboration and funding necessary to tackle them. Students leave this experience with an understanding of what it takes to start their own business and a drive to bring practical solutions to the complex challenges faced by people all around the world.

Sixth Grade Class Trip

Every spring, the sixth grade class takes a trip together. Previous classes visited Chicago; starting in 2023, students will embark on a new adventure to the capital city of Toronto. Sixth graders will now get to travel outside of the United States to explore the diverse immigrant communities that make up the rich fabric of this city. Students return as informed U.S citizens with a broader sociopolitical awareness and a better understanding of immigration and the unique relationship between the United States and Canada.

Hear, Here Lecture Series

The Hear, Here speaker series is designed to bring the OTS community together, build excitement around global citizenship, and encourage others to learn and intellectually engage with a variety of different subjects. Supported by the George T. Parry Speakers Fund, nationally recognized speakers visit campus to speak and work with students across all divisions. 

Past Speakers

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor: 10th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Ohio’s first female chief justice, and member of the Cleveland-Marshall Hall of Fame

Topic: The role of the courts and criminal justice reform

Orville Schell (pictured above): Author, former professor and dean at the University of California, Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, and current Arthur Ross Director of U.S. – China relations at the Asia Society

Topic: The U.S.’s changing relationship with China

Aaron David Miller: Author, preeminent Middle East scholar and senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace focusing on U.S. foreign policy. From 1978-2003, Miller served in the U.S. State Department as a historian, analyst, negotiator and advisor to Republican and Democratic U.S. secretaries of state where he influenced and shaped U.S. policy on the Middle East and Arab-Israeli peace process. 

Topic: U.S. policy in the Middle East

OTS Abroad

Middle School students are encouraged to participate in the faculty-led OTS Abroad program each spring break to travel to a region or country that interests them. Students embark on the adventure of a lifetime, where they learn to think critically, exchange ideas, explore new places and cultures, and deepen their relationship with faculty leaders and fellow travelers. This experience is a vital part of preparing students to enter the world as ethical and responsible adults.


OTS Abroad Programs

Italy 2024

Focus: To study the national park system, native species, culture and food. 

Panama 2025

Focus: To study the natural world, culture, language and UN Sustainable Development Goals

Asia 2026

Focus: To gain a better understanding of ancient and modern societies by exploring urban and rural areas

Financial aid is available to support OTS Middle School students who wish to travel with our program. 

These experiences are an integral part of our approach to education. When a child can associate a core memory with a lesson in our curriculum, they develop a better understanding and connection to its significance.

Joe Vogel, Associate Head of School and Director of the Center for Global Understanding