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Posted: 07/02/14


SISTER SCHOOLS. Above, Qingzhen No. 1 High School Principal Liu Ping and Romeo High School Principal Mike Kaufman sign documents to further strengthen the sister school agreement between the two schools during a trip to China.

(Photo courtesy of Superintendent Nancy Campbell)

RHS delegates visit China, exchange ideas

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      Romeo and Guizhou officials exchanged gifts, teaching tips and offers of international education during a recent trip to China.
       Delegates from Romeo High School (RHS) visited the Qingzhen No. 1 High School in Guizhou from June 8-19 to continue negotiations on how exchange programs between the two schools will operate.
       The schools became sister schools in February when a delegation of Chinese educators and businessmen visited Romeo. This means they will find ways to bolster education through exchanges.
       Superintendent Nancy Campbell said it was a positive experience for all who attended, saying the sister school couldn't have been more hospitable.
       "They really wanted to show us how much they care about us," she said.
       The delegates from Romeo Community Schools were Campbell, RHS Principal Mike Kaufman, Assistant Principals Melissa Arendts and Natalie Davis, Athletics and Activities Director Greg Brynaert and teachers Rich Bogglio and Kim Lamb.
       Campbell said the partnership is forming slowly, but the opportunity to have students and teachers from China will not only provide revenue, but cultural exchanges.
       "On their end, they are seeking assistance in their curriculum and having students come here because they see the value of being in the American education system," she said.
       She said it's likely that Romeo will receive more students than it sends, as credits earned in Qingzhen may not easily transfer back to Romeo. She said as of now it may take on the form of Romeo High School students going for a couple of weeks at a time in the winter.
       She said short-term visits may be in store for elementary and middle school students as well. She indicated the same may be true for teachers.
       "Teachers who would come from China here would obviously be teaching our students chinese, and our teachers going there . . . would be math teachers and maybe higher-level science," she said.
       Romeo may send teachers as consultants as opposed to instructors for classes Qingzhen hopes to establish or improve, such as math, science and Advanced Placement (AP) courses.
       "We're in preliminary discussions about that, and the big factor is if I have current teachers interested in it," she said. "We're talking about what that would look like financially for the district and financially for the sister school."
       One difference she noticed is the teaching environment at the school. She said the teacher-student relationship in Romeo is much more open than in Qingzhen.
       "They saw the value in that discussion piece and the open-endedness -- the way that we're friendly with our students, they don't have that," she said.
       Before any exchanges can occur, the district needs to obtain its Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) certification from the Department of Homeland Security. Campbell said the district is still awaiting word.
      
Welcoming visitors

       Campbell said Qingzhen will send 24 visitors to Romeo next month. She said she is looking for households that can host one to four Chinese students and parents between Aug. 7-13.
       Hosts are to drop off and pick up their guests at Romeo High School each weekday, as the guests will spend time visiting locations and at seminars from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
       Hosts will receive $240 per guest in their home, so four guests would be $960. They are asked to provide beds for each guest, breakfasts and dinners on weekdays and meals on weekends.
       Interested households can contact Campbell at (586) 255-9993 for more details.
      


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