Over fall break Simpson County School's Superintendent Tim Schlosser and administrators from other school districts in Kentucky traveled to China to discuss the partnership between HanBan, the Education Ministry of China, and the Confucius Institute of Western Kentucky.
"Simpson County Schools is the fiscal agent for the Confucius Institute of Western Kentucky," Schlosser said. "When Western Kentucky University dissolved their partnership with HanBan and the Confucius Institute of China, Simpson County Schools took that responsibility."
There are 13 districts and 42 teachers in Kentucky that are Chinese teachers from the Confucius Institute, he said. With the partnership is the creation of a board that Schlosser is the chairman of for the Confucius Institute of Western Kentucky.
"We meet with the Confucius Institute of China and we went over there to solidify our commitment to bringing Chinese teachers to Kentucky and growing this program," Schlosser said.
The groups toured elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and the North China Power Electric University, which is the university that is the source of the Chinese teachers in Kentucky.
"We met with the Yunnan Provincial Government to start to develop some partnerships with them and their schools, in Kunming, which is the town in China," Schlosser said. "There were some school districts that are wanting to look at doing some exchange programs with their students and students from China coming to their school."
He said the goal of the trip was to have an opportunity to meet with and see how their education systems compares to the United States. There was not a lot of difference in the way they teach, using similar instructional strategies that we do in the United States, but their school days are longer.
"When you walked into a classroom it didn't look much different than here in Simpson County," Schlosser said.
He said the partnership gives an opportunity for students in Kentucky to be exposed to another foreign language and to another culture. It gives students an opportunity to see there is more out there past Simpson County and Kentucky, he said.
"It really is about teaching kids skills that they can use as they progress through their education and when they leave here," Schlosser said.
He said they met several educators while in China, including Ms. Jessica, who taught at Lincoln Elementary for the past two years. She is working at the North China Power Electric University as an English teacher.
Schlosser said it was a great experience to have the opportunity to learn about another culture and education system.