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Education

Highland teachers experienced Chinese education

5/23/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Scott Kriska

Highland High School Principal Dana Addis and three teachers shared their experiences of visiting a Chinese high school at the Highland Board of Education meeting May 20.

For a week at the end of March, Addis and teachers Bruce Folkerth, Tracy Goebel, Chris Kestner and Chris Luker had the opportunity to observe students and teachers at Nanwu High School in Guangzhou, China. A group of Chinese students previously had the chance to attend classes at Highland High School as part of this project, said Addis. At the meeting, some of the Highland teachers discussed their experiences during the trip.

English teacher Goebel talked about the similarities and differences in Chinese and American school days. She said the students in schools in China attend classes from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and have an hour to eat lunch and an hour to take a nap as part of their schedule. She also said she admired the fact that every student was focused and everyone turned in their homework on time.

Science teacher Luker said the Chinese schooling he observed was not what he expected, adding the students have the same desires as American students and the parents there have the same dreams for their children as parents in the United States.

Folkerth said the teachers in China were fascinated with how Highland students “think outside the box.” He added the Chinese teachers were surprised the Highland teachers worked with students who are not achieving.

Addis said one goal is to have Highland students go to China.

“I have not ever been treated so well in my entire life as these people treated us,” he said.

After thanking the families who hosted the Chinese students who visited Highland High School and who began this relationship, he initiated a live video chat with one of the Nanwu High School teachers via Skype and talked with the teacher, the school’s principal and a small group of students. At the time, the Nanwu students were just starting to arrive at school.

Addis said the ultimate goal of this project was to have the Highland and Nanwu students working together for the benefit of the world.

“We’ve developed something very special,” he said of the relationship he feels has been developed between the two schools.

Also at the meeting, the board approved the following items:

  • a resolution to accept the transfer of school district territory from the Medina City School District to the Highland Local School District;
  • the district’s participation in the Ohio School Facilities Commission Extended Local Partnership Program;
  • a revised job description for bus mechanic;
  • the acceptance of foreign exchange students Min Ji Kim of Goyang, South Korea, and Haonan Xu of Chonqing, China;
  • handbooks for the high school, middle school and elementary schools for the 2013-14 school year;
  • applications for use of facilities and waiver of associated fees;
  • agreements with the Medina County Health Department, United Disability Services, Ohio High School Athletic Association, Millennium Rehabilitation Athletic Training Services, KTW Consulting, Solutions Behavioral Consulting and KRG Educational Services; and
  • various personnel items, including employment, retirement, resignations, extended time and supplemental items.

In other business:

√ Treasurer Neil Barnes presented a detailed presentation of the five-year financial forecast through June 30, 2017. The board approved the forecast following the presentation.

√ Superintendent Catherine Aukerman discussed a resolution to oppose voucher expansion in House Bill 59, which proposes to expand the EdChoice Scholarship Program. She explained with this bill, vouchers would be available regardless of a school’s performance, and the bill would take district funds from public education and grant them to private education.
Highland Board of Education President Dr. Norman Christopher expressed his views on House Bill 59, urging the public to contact state legislators and ask them to oppose the bill.
Hinckley resident Connie King addressed the board regarding the bill and asked why they are against vouchers when vouchers give people freedom of choice.
Aukerman said the board is concerned about funding, not the availability of vouchers.

√ Curriculum Director Laurie Boedicker and Technology Services Supervisor Roger Saffle gave a presentation on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Assessment tests, a form of online testing that will start in the 2014-15 school year.

The next Highland Board of Education meeting is scheduled for June 17 at 7 p.m. in the Highland High School Media Center, 4150 Ridge Road.

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