Why Support Japanese Plus

Globalize DC depends on generous support from concerned members of our community to sustain and grow our Japan programs for DC youth.  We do not do this work alone. Here are four big reasons why we think our Japan programming is worthy of your support. We appreciate every gift – no matter the size.

JAPANESE PLUS is making a real change in the lives of DC students.

Globalize DC’s afterschool and summer Japan programs offer highly motivated DC public high school students, mostly lower income and ethnically diverse, the opportunity to study Japanese, experience Japanese culture, and engage in authentic exchanges with people who live and work in the US-Japan arena. Our students find our programs to be educational, fun, enriching, and life-transforming – many say their participation is the most academically rewarding part of their week. Through a menu of interlocking programs (language, culture, career exposure, cultural exchange, travel), we encourage our students to see their serious interest in Japanese as a critical asset on their pathway to college and careers. Already we have one former student studying for an undergraduate degree in Japan, and a second headed to university in Japan next year (both Temple University-Japan).

JAPANESE PLUS is a catalyst for expanding Japanese language education in DC and beyond.

Four years ago, in spite of the surprisingly (to us!) widespread interest on the part of DC youth in Japanese language and culture, there existed no DC public school with a Japanese language program, and we could find no accessible out-of-school programs on Japan for DC students. We decided to address this unmet need. In addition to creating the city’s only free Japan-related programming for K-12 students, Globalize DC incubated an in-school Japanese course at Columbia Heights Education Campus in SY2017-18. The school is now the only public school in DC to offer Japanese as a regular language offering. Globalize DC has been very pleased to join a community of educators, officials, and community advocates involved in promoting the growth of Japanese language education in the United States, in a time of great challenges. The Program Director was even honored to be included in an intimate gathering with Mrs. Akie Abe to discuss this issue of Japanese language education in the US. We believe that our Japanese Plus afterschool model can help contribute to a solution.

JAPANESE PLUS is an innovative model for increasing language access.

Beyond its Japanese focus, our Japanese Plus program offers a new model for using out-of-school time to open access for public school students to educational programs not available at their own schools. We believe this type of programming has enormous potential both to open new educational opportunities and to address long-standing inequities in language access – in DC and elsewhere. Globalize DC is currently working with DC government and education officials to create a new competency-based credit policy that will allow students to earn academic credit towards high school graduation for language learning outside the traditional classroom. We are now beginning to explore the possibility of creating similar programs, based on the Japanese Plus model, for other less commonly taught languages.

JAPANESE PLUS creates a new space for the global and local to meet.

Washington, DC is an important global city, yet our local young people, particularly in lower income communities of color, too often grow up disconnected from the global aspects of their own city. Globalize DC was created to help bridge that gap – to find ways to leverage the city’s wealth of global resources and knowledge to open opportunities, including pathways to global careers, to our local DC students. Japanese Plus depends on strong partnerships, and the generosity of the many individuals and organizations with deep Japan experience and connections. What our students find most unique and meaningful about their participation in our Japan programming are the many opportunities they are given to actually meet people who have lived experience with Japan to share with them. Students come away feeling empowered, with new ideas about what their own futures might look like. We know our global partners benefit as well as the young people from these shared experiences. We believe that the platform that Globalize DC provides for these kinds of interactions brings real benefits to our rapidly changing city.

If you wish to discuss anything you’ve read here and want to learn about our future plans, please contact sally@globalizedc.org.