An administrative team from the Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation (MVCSC) expanded the International Exchange program to Anshan, China. The MVCSC team signed agreements with two schools and the Anshan City Bureau of Education (which allows for exchanges with any Anshan, China school), as well as developed relationships with the Anshan team.
The MVCSC International Exchange program was launched in 2016 when Superintendent Dr. Shane Robbins and Mt. Vernon High School Principal Greg Roach visited Taiwan. Robbins and Roach hired a Taiwan teacher to teach Mandarin Chinese at Mt. Vernon High School (MVHS), as well as established a sister school for future exchanges. Currently, an exchange student from Taiwan is staying with a host family and enjoying MVCSC.
The MVCSC administrative team included: Dr. Tim Long, Director of Operations; Mrs. Maria Bond, Director of Community Relations; Mr. Casey Dodd, Assistant Principal of Mt. Vernon Middle School; Mrs. Stephanie Miller, Principal of McCordsville Elementary School; and Mrs. Heather Noesges, Principal of Fortville Elementary School. Dr. Long led the group throughout the travel in China as he previously established an exchange with Anshan in his prior school district.
The MVCSC team flew 14 hours into Beijing, China, and took the high speed train into Anshan the following day. The Anshan Bureau of Education hosted the team throughout the week. The MVCSC team visited many schools and experienced the educational culture. Many similarities, as well as differences, were identified in the two educational structures. Anshan is interested in sending students in grades 4 through 8 to MVCSC. They will not be sending high school students as they study nearly year-round for their graduation/college placement test, all four years. This test determines which level college they are able to enter and is extremely important to their future livelihood.
Chinese classrooms, at any grade, have nearly 50 students packed into a standard-size classroom with one teacher. Students are exceptionally well-disciplined and compliant; they completed whatever the teacher asked without talking or needing discipline. Students only spoke when asked; they stood up when they were called upon and sat back down after answering. Occasionally, students collaborated with their partner or in small groups near their chairs. Teachers used video and workbooks, as well as chalkboards for instruction.
At the Gangdu Primary School, the students had recess and then participated in a student-led 20 minute exercise, combining aerobics and dance. The activity was extremely impressive as every student stayed in their line, knew the exact movement and most importantly, every single student actually did the exercise. Over 2,000 students all completed the same exercise in unison.
Several of the schools required students to be in uniform, which usually consisted of a grade-level, matching track suit. Most of the schools began at 7:30 a.m. and went until 4 p.m., however students have several academic sessions or a music/athletic lesson prior to and after dinner. Students are frequently studying up to bedtime, nearly seven days a week.
While in Anshan, the MVCSC team was able to see future housing accommodations for Mt. Vernon teachers and students. The newly opened University Hostel and Hotel is in a safe setting with western style bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry areas (see video below). There is also a large cafeteria-style dining option just around the corner that provided some American food options and provided a convenience store as well. A large hand-made boulder and stalactite park area overlooked the beautiful complex offering walking and hiking trails, as well as fire pits. The hotel area showcased exquisite marble staircases, chandeliers, and upscale rooms, along with banquet rentals.
The Mt. Vernon China team encourages Mt. Vernon parents to consider sending their students to Anshan for an exchange or consider hosting a student or teacher during their stay in Indiana. Throughout the trip, it was very apparent that both the Anshan students and staff are extremely anxious to visit Indiana, seeing it as a pathway to their successful futures. The Anshan people are friendly, genuine and eager to develop friendships with Americans.
For additional information, please visit: www.mvcsc.k12.in.us/International
Brief Overview of MVCSC Team's Visit to Anshan, China
Interested in Visiting Anshan, China or Hosting a Student/Teacher? Watch the more detailed video below.
Learn about Mt. Vernon High School's student application of Mandarin, Chinese studies in THIS ARTICLE. Hear how students are becoming globally minded!