Plainville Community Schools recently welcomed three visitors from China as part of the Connecticut Shandong School Partnerships Program. As part of the Chinese educator delegation, Mr. Wang Laixu, high school principal, spent ten days in Plainville visiting district schools and exploring local points of interest. Wang stayed with Plainville Board of Education member Barbara Willard during the visit. "It was an honor for my family to host Mr. Wang. During his stay, we were quite busy visiting local places of interest including the Mark Twain House. One of his favorite excursions was a trip to Gampel Pavilion to watch the UCONN Women's Basketball team play DePaul University. Basketball is quickly becoming a crowd pleaser in China and it didn't take long for Mr. Wang, Ms. Mao and Ms. Wang to become Husky fans. Mr. Wang also attended the Middle School's winter choral concert and he was very impressed with the students' performances," said Willard. Wang Yunjie and Mao Lixin, both teachers, also visited the Plainville school district, as well as the Hebron school system. Yunjie and Lixin stayed with Hebron's Gilead Hill School Principal and Plainville resident Kathryn Veronesi while in Connecticut.
The relationship between China and the Plainville school district began in 2004 when a two person team from Plainville High School traveled to Shandong Province, China to form a sister school partnership with Fanhua Senior Middle School of Zhucheng City. At that time, the partnership was endorsed by proclamations signed by the Plainville Town Council and the Plainville Board of Education. The proclamations reflect the commitment to positive educational international relationships between the United States and China.
Impressed with the Plainville school district visit this year, Wang sought a sister school partnership arrangement between his high school (Jining No.1 Middle School) and Plainville High School. As a result, he presented a sister school partnership proposal at the January 12th Board of Education meeting. The proposal for a more formalized relationship between the two schools was unanimously endorsed by Plainville's Board members. "The Board is pleased to enter into a partnership with Mr. Wang and his school. We understand the importance of sharing with and learning from our counterparts in China. Our hope is that this partnership will allow Plainville students to have a greater understanding of different cultures and will offer unique experiences that will enhance their view of the world," said Plainville Board of Education Chair Becky Tyrrell.
Over the course of Wang's visit to the Plainville school district, he explored a full range of classroom and program visitations at each of the five schools, together with a number of outtings to see local points of interest and experience the American culture. While in the school district, Wang visited elementary, middle and high school level classes and engaged in question and answer sessions with district administrators and faculty regarding teaching practices and school structures in China and the United States. He also toured the newly renovated Toffolon School facility and enjoyed a middle school chorus concert.
"Through the assistance of a number of Chinese language interpreters during the visit, including Plainville Adult Education instructor Manli Luo, Wang noted that he was particularly impressed with the high level of quality instruction, the comprehensive education program, and the outstanding faculty and students in Plainville," explained Assistant Superintendent David Telesca. "Wang also acknowledged the creativity in instructional methods and the active engagement of Plainville students through hands-on problem solving at all levels."
While specifics of the new sister school partnership will be determined going forward, the overall goal is to cultivate friendship, support academic collaboration, and foster cultural exchange. Initial steps may include faculty and student exchanges via email and distance learning initiatives.
"I am pleased that we are able to offer this cultural exchange for the student body and the greater community. I believe these exchanges can foster greater understanding of different cultures," noted Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Kathleen Binkowski.
-Posted on January 28, 2009 at 11:39 AM
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