D211 Post: Chinese Educators Visit District 211
A group of more than 20 education staff from the Zhejiang Province of China toured William Fremd High School on Nov. 1 as part of a multi-week education tour. The group first met with representatives from Community Consolidated School District 15 and Township High School District 211 at the District’s G.A. McElroy Administration Center in Palatine Oct. 25.
During the meeting at District 211’s Administration Center, representatives from both districts described the details of the schools ranging from demographics to course lists, and typical school day activities. District 211 Associate Superintendent for Student Services Mark Kovack said the group was specifically interested in learning how 8th grade students are supported in transitioning to high school.
“The visiting team reached out to an existing contact within District 15 to inquire about this work which led to District 211’s involvement,” Kovack said. “The collaboration and partnership between our school districts is longstanding and provides a strong model to illustrate the transition from junior high to high school.”
Following the meeting, the delegation traveled to District 15’s Plum Grove Junior High School where they had the opportunity to tour the school and observe classes.
On Nov. 1, the delegation returned to Palatine to tour Fremd High School. After a brief introduction by Principal Kurt Tenopir, the delegation broke into small groups and were taken to a variety of different classes. The groups observed classes ranging from computer programing and A.P. English to American Studies and Applied Technology.
Delegation member Quing Song Wu said that while classes such as biology and mathematics were similar both at Fremd High School and in China, there were some classes that he was surprised to see.
“I was interested in seeing the various career path classes such as automotive and wood classes,” Wu said through a translator. “We have similar classes, but not at such a deep level.”
Wu added that he was impressed by the diversity of curriculum offered in District 211.
“It seems every student can find classes they will like here,” he added.
Kovack said having visits such as this can provide a unique learning experience for not only the delegates, but for the District as well.
“These visits provide opportunities for both parties to learn about themselves and about each other. From our perspective, as we prepare to host a visiting team, we take time to evaluate our school’s strengths and the ways those strengths have been developed and supported over time,” said Kovack. “Feedback from the visiting team gives us an unbiased viewpoint to help us determine the overall value our systems add to students’ school experiences. Additionally, the visits give us a chance to compare our practices with the other schools’ practices. These comparisons help us recognize new ideas which may help us to provide students with even more meaningful educational activities.”