Judging by a variety of indicators, the visit to BRS by the Chinese Delegation last Friday was a success. The visiting principals, above all, enjoyed their visits to classrooms and their interactions with children and staff. They were impressed with what they saw. As short as their visit was, they enjoyed the dialogue and exchange of ideas that they had with administrators, parents, faculty and staff. I am so proud of you, our children and BRS. Thanks are extended to Mr. Letch and members of the Marching Owls and Violin Ensemble, the office staff and custodians, our parent translators (4), the children and you for helping to prepare for the visit and/or for offering such a warm welcome to our grades. In addition, I am grateful to Gina, Nancy and Sheila for the important role they played in helping to host our visitors. It is my firm belief that visits such as this promote global awareness among our children and add a special “magic” to our school.
The image of today’s students becoming tomorrow’s global citizens is exciting to imagine and important to plan. A main postulate of our Board of Education’s mission includes such a vision and as a result we are engaged in connecting our students with their peers in China. As part of this effort, Beecher Road School continues to exchange school personnel to promote cross-cultural communication and global awareness among our staff and students. Started in 2007, our Sister Schools program with two schools in Shandong Province is growing.
As you may know, I was invited to meet educational officials and tour the public schools of the city of Shenjhen, China. The trip was paid for by the Human Resource Department in Shenjhen. I brought staff representatives Nancy White and Jeanne Dempsey, BRS’s 2012/13 Teacher of the Year. The trip was rigorous. We visited an average of 3-4 schools a day. As a team, we had an opportunity to interact with school administrative leaders, teachers and students. There is great interest on the part of the Shenjhen Public Schools in establishing exchange programs with the Woodbridge School District, e.g. administrators, faculty and children. The possibilities are many.
Through one of our BRS parents, Dr. Ding, I have been invited by Dr. Fang, Director of Educational Human Resources Management of the public school system in the city of Shenzhen, China, to give an educational presentation(s)/talks to administrators, teachers and students as well as to visit schools in Shenzhen. Dr. Fang visited BRS last month and was impressed with our educational program. During his brief stay, we spent several hours together speaking about education. Shenzhen is the youngest city in China, approximately 30 years old. It has been described as a model city designed to make connections between China and the western world. The invitation allows me to bring an administrator and teacher from BRS as part of my team. The anticipated trip is scheduled for the end of June and beginning of July. Nancy White and this year’s Teacher of the Year, Jeanne Dempsey, will accompany me. The trip is being paid for by the Shenzhen School System. Through this trip, our intent is to build positive relationships with a successful non-western school system and look for connections that will benefit our students and school system as well as possibly other BOWA districts, including Amity.
I would like to thank the members of the School Board, administration, faculty, staff and entire Beecher Road School community for helping to make last week's visit by the two principals from China, Mr. Wong and Mr. Li, a positive experience. The feedback from the principals about our educational system and the reception they received, both inside and outside of school, was extremely positive. Because of the strong ties that have been built in such a short time with our colleagues from China, we have established a strong relationship with two additional schools in China. Mrs. Prisco and I discussed with our visitors the opportunity for a future exchange of administrators, staff and possibly students and parents. There is the possibility of two (2) teachers from our new brother schools coming for a 2-3 week residency at BRS in May. If this were to happen, it would constitute another step forward in support of our district goal of developing a generation of good local and global citizens. The children of Beecher Road School and our partner schools in China will be the real beneficiaries of our efforts.
Monday, April 27, 2009 ten students and two teachers from the Lung Kong World Federation School in Hong Kong visited Beecher Road School for the day. Last fall, these students participated in a Global Knowledge Communities project with students from Mr. Holowienko's class. During their visit to Beecher, the guests were introduced to Beecher, Woodbridge, Connecticut, and the USA through presentations by Mr. Holowienko's class. The class also prepared breakfast for the guests. After a tour of the school the students from Hong Kong spent time in Grade 6 classes and went out to recess and to lunch with their hosts. The teachers from Hong Kong met with the Grade 6 Team and compared education and life in Hong Kong and Woodbridge.
In the afternoon, the students from Hong Kong presented results from the joint GlobalKC project and taught Grade 6 students to sing in Chinese. The Beecher Road School Percussion Ensemble performed for our guests to wrap up their visit to Woodbridge. After school, Rick Wood accompanied the visitors to Yale for a tour of this world-famous campus.
January 16, 2009
There has been a great deal of excitement at Beecher Road School and in the Woodbridge Community due to the historic visit of two educational leaders from China. Mr. Zeng Guangguo is the Principal of our sister school, Heze Municipal Experimental Primary School, which is a large urban school located in the city of Heze. His colleague, Mr. Guo Zhenhu, is Principal of Binzhou Shoutian Yingcai Primary School. Mr. Guo’s school, located in the City of Binzhou, is a high achieving private boarding school of about 1,600 students. Both principals are interested in pursuing a sister school relationship with the Woodbridge School District which would involve on-going collaboration and reciprocity through various modes of digital communication, inter-visitation of staff and administrators, and possible inter-visitation of children and parents.
The two visitors stayed at the home of PTO President, Margaret Hamilton on weekdays during the past two weeks. On the weekend, they were rotated among three families---a Chinese speaking family and two non-Chinese speaking families. In addition, our Chinese guests and I were invited to dinner at the homes of several different Beecher Road families. Numerous members of our Chinese community stepped forward to volunteer to do translation work.
Likewise, our visitors had many opportunities to interact with the children, staff, administrators and parents of BRS. They met members of the School Board, Board of Finance and Board of Selectmen during the “Windows on Technology Tour” at Beecher Road School. They met with the Administrative Team and also worked directly with me, members of the Technology Team and staff to plan future areas of collaboration. They also had a chance to spenda day at Bethany Middle School and Amity High School. One of the highlights of the visit was spending a day visiting with the First Selectmen, touring Town Departments, including that of the Town Clerk, the Police Department and the new Fire House. They also had an opportunity to attend the annual meeting of the Friends of the Library and join the members of that group for brunch at the home of a Woodbridge resident.