Schooling partnership between US, China to put Chinese students on path to earn Wis. diplomas

  • Updated: June 18, 2013 - 12:05 PM

PITTSVILLE, Wis. — A central Wisconsin high school district is partnering with a Chinese school to teach about 400 Chinese students a U.S. curriculum.

The partnership is between the Pittsville School District in Wood County and two schools in China. It's part of a larger program designed to help American and Chinese learn about each other's cultures and traditions, the News-Herald Media reported (http://mnhne.ws/17VJB5E ).

"It's never been done before, and we're very excited about what it can do for Pittsville here," said Terry Reynolds, administrator of the Pittsville School District. "And I know the Chinese are excited about it as well."

The program is part of a three-year partnership with Satellite Education Program, a cooperative project between districts in the U.S. and the Chinese Ministry of Education in Beijing. Students in the Chinese cities of Tinjin and Yinchuan will begin learning the Pittsville curriculum. An agreement with a third school in Shanghai is pending.

Although the teachers will be employees of the Satellite Education Program, they'll be certified by the state Department of Public Instruction, Reynolds said.

Once the Chinese students graduate, they'll attend University of Wisconsin System schools, said Richard Vought, a retired North Lakeland School District superintendent who has helped coordinate the program.

"Now we're in the process of hiring teachers," Vought said. "It's time-consuming. We want to start out small and do it right. There is a huge desire in China for students to come to America to go to school."

The partnership is intended to ease the logistics of setting up an exchange program between the two countries. Officials also hope it provides Pittsville and Chinese students a chance to exchange knowledge about their culture, customs and traditions.

The program could end up having larger implications, especially as China becomes an increasingly important player in the world economy, Vought said.

"One of these students could grow up and graduate and end up in a high-ranking position in the government in China," he said. "I would think it would be a good experience for people."

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