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February – Chinese students participating in the Hoosier Classroom at School #84, Center for Inquiry, arrived in Indiana and moved into our student center located in the 3800 block of North Delaware in Indianapolis. Accompanying the four students were a housemother who would be taking care of the kids while they were not at school, and a science teacher interested in learning about science instruction in American public schools. The science teacher was privileged to attend the National Science Teachers Association annual meeting in Boston.

 


February – Twenty-four high school principals came to Indiana for professional development training. Activities included a three-day visit to Noblesville High School, thanks to the enthusiastic participation of principal Jeff Bryant and assistant principal, Beth Meguschar. The principals were guided through the building and into classes by senior student council members. The delegation heard presentations from the principal, the guidance director, the special education director, and several students. They particularly enjoyed observing after-school activities, including the show choir rehearsal and basketball practice.
March—The first of two pre-departure orientation sessions was held for those Indiana teachers joining the 40-strong cadre of teachers going to Beijing to teach English to entering freshmen at the University of Science and Technology of Beijing. Topics included basic Chinese customs and common Chinese language expressions along with the rigors of travel. Also discussed were the topics to be presented to the students. The teachers were divided into groups to facilitate preparation and to avoid duplication of effort as they prepared.
April – The second pre-departure meeting occurred. Teachers were provided with an update on the topics to be presented along with a tentative schedule of classes. Though teachers from out of state were to join the group in Beijing, they were provided with needed materials via email since distance prevented them from attending the meetings in person.
May—Prior to their flight home, the Hoosier Classroom students attended Carburation Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, an event that always precedes the famed Indianapolis 500. Other activities enjoyed by the students, in addition to their regular school activities, were weekend stays at classmates’ homes, hosting “slumber parties” at the student center, visits to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, shopping trips, and hiking in the woods. The students returned to China in early June after a very happy and successful experience.
June—The group of teachers, who later called themselves the “Beijing Cohort,” departed for Beijing for their three-week summer school teaching experience. The teachers were housed at a nice hotel located on the university campus. The Saturday and Sunday prior to the first day of school were spent in meetings to further prepare the group for meeting the students. Each teacher was assigned a teaching assistant, usually an upperclassman or graduate student in the foreign language department.

As the first week progressed, adjustments were made according to the desires of the USTB staff and the observations of the teachers. By the end of the three weeks one hundred percent of the students gave CEC the highest marks when they were surveyed, and the teachers all were inspired and rejuvenated by the experience.
July – 18 Students from Tianchang Primary School in Hangzhou came to Batesville, Indiana, for a summer school experience to be shared with American students at Batesville Middle School. The students stayed with host families and were amazed at the warm hospitality provided by the Batesville people. One of the most popular activities occurred outside the classroom when the entire group went on a day-long excursion to the Kings Island amusement park near Cincinnati, Ohio.
August – 23 Students from Shengli Primary School in Hangzhou arrived in Warsaw, Indiana, during Harrison Elementary School’s second week of classes. Students attended classes, visited Grace College, and enjoyed host family stays, getting to know new American friends and learning about the American culture in the process. The students also enjoyed a dinner at a lakeside restaurant along with central office administrators and board members from the Warsaw school district.

Students from Hangzhou #14 Middle School attended classes at Richmond High School near the eastern border of the State of Indiana. During their two-week stay, they attended classes and stayed with host families. Richmond continues its association with CEC through hosting long-term exchange students for the second straight year. Thanks to Misty Dees-Hollis Richmond helped in the process for the Batesville district to obtain its authorization to issue I-20’s for F-1 student visas.
September – CEC staff work with Global Indiana and the Indiana Association of Teachers of Foreign Language in applying for a National Strategic Language Initiative grant from the U.S. government. If successful, the grant will fund a group of fifteen high school students for studying Mandarin in China for six weeks. The pre-departure and China portion of the training will be organized and implemented by CEC.
November— 27 students—the largest group yet—from Nan’Ao Experimental School in Guangzhou arrived in Greensburg, Indiana, to begin a week-long stay. Students enjoyed their stay with host families, their time at Greensburg Junior High and Greensburg Elementary School, and their field trip to Indianapolis to visit the State House, Circle Center Mall, and Banker’s Life Fieldhouse, complete with a stop at the Pacers’ Gift Shop.

A group of special education school principals came to Indiana to learn about the American system of providing special education to students with mental and physical challenges. They were hosted by the executive director of the Boone-Clinton-Northwest Hendricks Special Education Cooperative, Mrs. Tracey Shriver. The educators visited special education programs within the Lebanon school district and were able to tour other special education sites as well. With help from Mrs. Shriver and Bob Taylor, the Lebanon Superintendent, CEC is planning a special delegation to China in October of 2015.
December— CEC was honored to coordinate the visit of Deputy Director-General Bao of the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Education. Along with a special dinner and reception presided over by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, Director Bao and his delegation were able to visit the Indiana State House, Ben Davis High School, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Chicago.


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