From July 8th to 19th, 2017, the 12-day “Discover China” program, jointly launched by American School Superintendents Association (AASA) and Triway International Group (Triway), was held successfully in Beijing, Shanghai, and Jiangsu Province. This program aims to promote and strengthen AASA superintendents, and American K-12 educators’ interactions and exchanges with their Chinese counterparts, so that both parties can learn from each other, expand their horizons, encourage innovation and make progress together.
AASA was established in 1865, and has over 13,000 members in the U.S. and other countries in the world who are experts, scholars and leaders in the fields of K-12 education. This delegation was led by AASA’s Chief Operating Officer Mr. Charles Woodruff, with participants including Superintendent of Creighton School District Dr. Donna Lewis, Superintendent of Salt River Schools in Scottsdale Dr. Cynthia Clary, Superintendent of Elmwood School District Dr. Paul Blanford, Superintendent of Wawasee Community School Corporation Mr. Tom Edington, Superintendent of the Morris-Union Jointure Commission Dr. Janet Fike, Superintendent of Beecher-Dunbar-Pembine School District Mr. Chris Metras, Director of Curriculum of Palisades School District Dr. Michael Donnelly, Superintendent of Almira School District Ms. Shauna Schmerer, and AASA Business/Cultural Exchange Specialist Tara Gao. AASA delegates exchange and share ideas with educators in China. They talk about relevant topics regarding K-12 education in the United States and China, such as sister school agreement, the practice of STEM education, current K-12 education development in China, and how to improve K-12 education in both the U.S. and China.
After the visit, the US educators expressed that through this trip, their view towards China has been changed a lot. They were surprised by the rapid development of China’s education, and had new cognition of Chinese education. They stated that they were very impressed by the similarities between China and the US, and looked forward to a closer cooperation between the two countries in terms of educational exchanges and student training, particularly in terms of educational facilities, educational philosophy, and internationalization of education. China’s K-12 education has a lot of innovation and its own characteristics, specifically its rapid technology integration. In addition, although China is a country with a long history whereas the US is a rather young, there are a lot of similarities between them. China and the US has broad prospects for cooperation in the field of education.
On the morning of July 10th, the delegation visited Beijing No. 18 Middle School. Vice president Xiaoou Liu, Vice president of the Experimental Primary School Affiliated to Beijing No. 18 Middle School Zhiqing Wang, Director of No. 18 Middle School Foreign Affairs Office Jing Fu, and other school administrators and teachers accommodated the group.
AASA delegation visited the High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China (RDFZ) on July 10, 2017. RDFZ is a high school under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education and one of the first batch of Beijing municipal model schools. Founded in April, 1950, RDFZ is situated in the heart of Zhongguancun Hi-tech Park of Beijing. A renowned school with great reputation at home and abroad, RDFZ has scored brilliant achievements in quality education and comprehensive innovation.
July 11th, 2017, the “Discover China” group visited the Beijing Institute of Education (BIE). Founded in 1953, BIE is a major institution of higher learning for professional development of teachers and educational administrators under Beijing Education Commission.
AASA “Discover China” program delegation visited Beijing Shunyi Niulanshan No.1 Secondary School in the morning on July 12, 2017. Niulanshan No.1 Secondary School was founded in 1950. It is a boarding school with a first class advanced teaching and accommodation facilities. Niulanshan No.1 Secondary School Group has high school, middle school, primary school and international classes. There are totally over 8000 students and teachers in three campuses.
AASA delegation visited Ministry of Education of China (MOE) and China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE) in the morning of July 13, 2017. Director of Division of Teacher Education of MOE Dinghua Wang, Deputy Secretary-General of CEAIE Ms. Xuesong Shen, and Bo Fu and Jing Huang from Department of International Cooperation of CEAIE accommodated the group.
AASA delegation visited the Shanghai STEM+ Research Institute on July 14th, 2017. Established on December 31, 2014, Shanghai STEM+ Research Institute is one of the pioneers dedicated to interdisciplinary science education in China and the first Long-Term Empirical Education Research Base approved by Shanghai Municipal Education Commission. As a mission-driven nonprofit organization, they create, gather, and share high-quality STEM+ instructional practices and products and provide highly effective services to students, teachers, schools, and districts.
AASA delegation visited No.2 Experimental Elementary School of Jinshan, Shanghai on July 14th, 2017. Vice President Hong Zhang and other teachers from the school welcomed the guests, and accompanied the group to visit the school. No.2 Experimental Elementary School of Jinshan presented courses that were rich in traditional Chinese culture for the delegation.
Led by AASA’s Chief Operating Officer Mr. Charles Woodruff, delegation of American superintendents visited Jinhu County, Jiangsu Province on July 17, 2017. Secretary General Assistant of Jiangsu Education Services for International Exchange (JEAIE) Zhengguang Yan, Vice-president of Triway International Group Yining He, and Deputy County Chief of Jinhu County Changping Gao accommodated the group.
AASA delegation visited Yuhuatai Senior High School, Nanjing on July 18th, 2017. President Gengsen Mu and other school leaders and teachers accommodated the group. Because the school was also hosting another event called “Sino-European Youth Ambassadors Cultural Tour”, AASA delegates were able to observe Chinese and European students taking Chinese traditional culture courses during their visit.
This program has received great support from AASA’s partner Triway. Triway not only generously sponsored the event, but also conscientiously planned the whole itinerary and contacted with the hosting schools and originations for the AASA delegation. The success of the trip is hugely based on Triway’s rich experience and resources from engaging in Sino-US cultural exchanges for 20 years. Besides the intensive official activities, Triway also deliberately arranged historical and cultural tours for the group, and sent staff members from its offices in Beijing and Nanjing to accommodate the delegates all the time during the trip. Triway’s professionalism and dedication left a deep impression to all the members.