Fourteen students from The Dewey School visited the Mount Vernon Upper School campus and other sights and colleges around Atlanta and beyond during a July 7-21 trip. Photo: Mount Vernon School

Metro Atlanta’s Mount Vernon School has launched a partnership in Vietnam allowing students in the Southeast Asian nation to earn an American diploma through virtual learning or in-person instruction. 

With its first eligible Vietnamese cohort scheduled to graduate in 2025, the deal could eventually lead to Vietnamese students coming to Mount Vernon in Sandy Springs in greater numbers.

The campus got its first taste of what that will look like July 7-21, when a group of 14 high schoolers from The Dewey Schools, a private school network with four campuses across Vietnam, traveled to Atlanta on a cultural immersion program that included visits to premier Georgia colleges. 

Mount Vernon Ventures, the school’s consulting and research arm, established the partnership with The Dewey Schools in 2020, offering access to its online curriculum (MV Global Campus) through an asynchronous program overseen by Mount Vernon teachers. 

Through the partnership, Dewey students have the option of spending their junior and/or senior years at Mount Vernon’s physical campus, where they would earn a single diploma, or participating online back home and earning a diploma from both schools. 

Last fall, the Ventures team paid a visit to Dewey campuses in the cities of Tay Ho Tay and Hai Phong to observe instruction and interview teachers, deepening the partnership and gaining feedback to hone the offering. That was followed by a group of Mount Vernon Upper School students participating in a study trip to Tay Ho Tay in March. 

Not only do the schools’ educational philosophies align — focusing on innovation, inquiry and competency — but Mount Vernon is also bolstering Dewey’s foundational promise of providing bilingual education with American curriculum.

According to Mount Vernon, Dewey initiated the partnership, reaching out after being intrigued by the “inquiry-based” approach espoused by Mount Vernon from pre-K through 12th grade. 

Mount Vernon Head of School Kristy Lundstrom told Global Atlanta in an emailed interview that the partnership will help both sides meet their goal of graduating “globally competitive” students by enabling authentic cross-cultural interactions. 

“Interacting with friends from different cultures in everyday activities such as learning a new skill together, visiting and exploring new places, as well as genuine conversations about music, interests and ambitions for the future make the relationship genuine,” she said, referencing Mount Vernon’s recent hosting of Vietnamese students for two weeks. “The more we know, the more we grow. We want Mount Vernon to be a diverse community. This enduring partnership is an important step in achieving that goal.”

It’s unclear, she said, how many TDS students will opt for in-person learning in Atlanta over the online degree program — either way, and whether they end up attending college in the U.S., Vietnam or elsewhere around the world, they’ll see their readiness improved, she said. 

“We hope to have five to seven students in person during Year One and more in the years to come. So far, they are loving Atlanta during their summer exchange program,” Ms. Lundstrom said.

Mount Vernon is on the lookout for additional partner schools around the world that share its values and goals, with an eye toward launching similar programs.

“Potential partner schools should be eager to embrace diversity and inquiry-based learning, and be committed to seeking new approaches to connection and collaboration as we go on this journey together,” Ms. Lundstrom said. 

An independent private school, Mount Vernon hosts more than 1,200 day students at its 47-acre Sandy Springs campus. 

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...