Our school community is rich in cultural diversity. It’s not only something that we celebrate, but something that strengthens and informs our academic approach. Ultimately, we hope to produce graduates who are true global citizens, eager to engage with the world and to work with others to build a more peaceful and civil society.
In our community of learners, students are encouraged to explore the diversity of human experience, respectfully and with an open mind. By fostering global understanding in all four divisions of the school, we seek to expand our students’ horizons, preparing them to relish diversity, to take an active interest in global issues, and to confidently navigate a complex global community.
At its heart, a commitment to global awareness means fostering an outlook that is curious about and open to other cultures. But at Seven Hills, this is just a starting point. We believe that every academic discipline is strengthened when it is approached through a more global lens. Marcel Proust, the French novelist, believed that “the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.” This is what happens when you read Spanish poetry as a commentary on American capitalism or explore the impact of freedom movements on our own national discourse.
Our students’ explorations may take the form of a campuswide celebration of a multicultural holiday. Or enrolling in one of several Global Issues electives. Or reading and discussing, in a foreign language, an editorial on rural poverty or outsourcing or climate change. It may involve participating in one of our extensive travel and exchange programs or doubling up in two of our robust world language programs.
Through this kaleidoscope of experiences, our students grow and develop true cultural competency: rooted in an ardent curiosity about the world and a sincere impulse to explore it, and culminating in a deeper comfort with engaging with a diverse and interconnected global community.
From the earliest age, your student will engage with the Spanish language through storytelling, conversation, gestures, movement, repetition, and active group participation.
Students explore different countries and cultures through fun and celebratory activities during Cultural Connections Week. For example, the pre-kindergarteners on the Doherty Campus participate in a mock flight to Egypt, Chile, or Italy, exploring the country through décor, food tasting, and virtual tours.
During the holiday season, kindergarteners at Lotspeich enjoy the Festival of Lights. The celebration teaches students about the multitude of cultures from around the world that incorporate light into their holiday celebrations. Students learn about Las Posadas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, and St. Lucia—all holidays that use light to signify hope, peace, and love.
As part of a yearlong intensive India Unit, first graders at Lotspeich study the Taj Mahal and the Statue of Liberty, taking a virtual tour of each landmark and sharing the results of their comparison research. They also dive into the lives and philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., and how they approached peace in their societies. The students also toss brilliant streams of color powder into the air during a celebration of Holi, just before spring break.
Lotspeich second-graders complete an extensive study of bridges. Students begin the unit with a basic geography lesson called “Me on the Map,” which asks second-graders to look at their streets, cities, state, country, continent, and planet. Students study the different types of bridges and learn about bridges located everywhere from Cincinnati to a different continent. Each student then presents a bridge of their choice to their classmates and parents.
Spanish students on the Doherty Campus learn new vocabulary while helping the community. Through Doherty’s service-learning curriculum, students collect food for Open Door, a local nonprofit organization in the neighborhood. Students make lunches and practice their Spanish vocabulary as they work.
On Global Education Day, the whole Middle School comes together to participate in a day filled with speakers, learning sessions, and a culminating activity styled after the television show The Amazing Race, that takes students around the world without leaving the Middle School. The day opens with a guest speaker and students break into sessions hosted by speakers from around Cincinnati and the Seven Hills community. The highlight of the day is The Amazing Race, an interactive experience where students work in groups to complete globally themed challenges. Students run with the bulls, build pyramids, and dance an Irish jig, just to name a few.
Sixth-graders learn about latitude and longitude with a hands-on activity. At the beginning of the lessons, students learn how the lines on a globe look different than what is on a map. Using blue tape and stability balls, students recreate latitude and longitude lines, giving them a simple way to visualize the imaginary points. The activity gives students an opportunity to learn by doing.
In the Human Rights and Responsible Authority unit, eighth-graders explore the history of oppression and of freedom movements by making actual and virtual visits to museums, like the Center for Holocaust and Humanities Education, or by critiquing documentaries, like the groundbreaking 1968 “Blue Eyes-Brown Eyes” experiment conducted by third-grade teacher Jane Elliot.
In Upper School, the world language program culminates in a host of immersive classroom experiences designed to put students on a path to functional fluency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Each of the Upper level language courses contains a host of cultural and learning experiences, designed to heighten students’ awareness of those areas of the world in which that language is spoken or read.
To supplement classroom learning, students in all four languages can enrich their linguistic and cultural experience through a host of study-abroad opportunities aligned with school vacations. On a two-year, rotating basis, Seven Hills students travel to Spain, France, China, and Italy and Greece.
Seven Hills students can participate in an exchange trip to Spain. Chaperoned by Spanish teachers, the group takes day trips to Toledo, Madrid, and Segovia, as well as workshop days at Spanish Universities. Students stay with their host families on the weekends, experiencing day-to-day life of the culture in Spain.
French students from Lycée de la Croix Blanche, located in Bondues, France, visit Seven Hills as part of an exchange between the two Upper Schools. As part of the exchange, students travel to France and tour Paris and Belgium.
Our Downey Scholars Program extends our Chinese curriculum, enabling students to visit China in the summer, to immerse themselves in Chinese life, and to use what they have learned to communicate in the real world. Students learn about the culture, eat local foods, visit important landmarks, attend school, and build relationships with their host families.
Guided by our classics teachers, both trained archaeologists, Upper School Latin and Greek students travel to Greece and Italy, exploring many of the richest cultural sites in the ancient world.
In ninth- and tenth-grade, students study World History I and World History II, respectively. These courses build a solid foundation of global history that covers the dawn of civilization to present day. Students practice critical literacy skills and examine history through a worldwide lens.
Students with a passion for history can choose from electives that explore historical and social-science topics in depth. In Global Issues: Asia, students study the history of east, south, and central Asia, exploring events that shaped the continent from 1945 and on. Students examine the same time period in Global Issues: the Non-Asian World, which covers Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. Other history electives include Introduction to Archaeology, Economics, Environmental History, Honors Modern Political Theory, and Postmodern America Since 1968.