Chinese teacher likely to join Polk faculty in fall

Published 6:53 pm Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Polk students likely will have a chance to learn Chinese language and culture from a Chinese teacher this fall as Polk County enters what could be a far-reaching exchange program.
Polk County Schools has received initial notification that it will be one of only 15 districts in North Carolina participating in an exchange program with China.
The exchange has been coordinated by World View, a program started at UNC-Chapel Hill to help K-12 and college educators anticipate and respond to the challenges of a smaller, more interconnected world.
Polk County Schools has developed partnerships with World View and other global education groups to better understand other cultures, global issues and how to prepare students for a new global economy.
Polk County Schools Supt. Bill Miller said he has not received a written, formal confirmation, but it appears Polk made the cut.
“Looks like we got one of the Chinese programs,” Miller told the Polk school board Monday. “Its in the works to send teachers to China this year and have a Chinese teacher come here.”
Although he does not have details yet, he expects some Polk teachers will visit China this summer and their guide will be the Chinese teacher who will be coming here in the fall.
The Chinese teacher likely will go to Raleigh first for training at the Center for International Understanding, a public service program at UNC. Following the training, the teacher likely will arrive in Polk County for the first day of school this August.
Miller said the school system plans to put the teacher at Polk County Middle School to give students the option of taking Chinese in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades. The teacher also can provide instruction on Chinese culture at the middle school and go out regularly to provide cultural programs at the Polk elementary schools.
If students take up Chinese in middle school, they should have the opportunity to continue their study online in high school, says Miller. Already, Polk County has two students at its Virtual Early College who are taking Chinese online and more online program sare available each year.
Miller says he believes the exchange program will afford many more opportunities for Polk students and teachers as it grows.
“Just the exposure for the teachers going to China this summer is huge, and the elementary schools will probably be getting a partner school in China,” says Miller. “Once you get involved in something like this, you dont know what is going to come of it over time.”
Polks participation in the exchange program began last year when Polk County was invited to join a China Bridge Delegation with 400 educators from across the country. The delegation, which included Supt. Miller and Polk County Schools Director of Accountability and Technology Dave Scherping, traveled to China to meet government and school officials.
Polk County Schools also recently made the global economy a focus of its system-wide staff development day. Neil Bolick, Associate Director for World View, was the opening speaker.
This April, four Polk County teachers will participate in an international study visit to India. Those teachers recently attended a “South Asia in the Global Economy” workshop at Duke University.

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