On Religion, The Media and Life as a 20-something in Chicago

ELGIN — The students at the experimental primary school U46 Superintendent Jose Torres visited loved to be photographed, he said. They insisted on showing the superintendent how to build an electric circuit. He got to “throw the switch” at the end, he said. The students were attending school in Tianjin, China, which Torres visited in November as part of a Chinese Bridge Delegation sponsored by the College Board and Hanban, a division of the Chinese Ministry of Education. The superintendent called that visit “pretty impactful” and said it has him talking now to the city and School Board and thinking of ways Elgin schools might partner with schools in China. That comes almost exactly a year after Chinese President Hu Jintao’s four-day visit to the United States, in which he stressed building partnerships between the two countries. And it comes as both Elgin Community College and Judson University continue to strengthen their partnerships with schools in the Asian country. Right now, Torres said, “It’s just a visionary thing, and I haven’t put any legs to that.” But, he added, “It makes sense from my perspective in terms of Destination 2015 and our goals. I’ve begun to do some research around this.” The travel, lodging and all other expenses for the superintendent’s trip were paid for by the College Board and Hanban, according to Karen Fox, chief of family and community engagement in U46. Torres said he “must have visited seven schools in four days” while in Beijing and Tianjin. There, he spoke with secondary school teachers, who said most classrooms had 45 to 50 students, and watched all 2,000 students at one school participate in “morning exercises” — supervised by only one teacher. Those students attended school from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a 90-minute lunch break in the middle of the day and an average two to three hours of homework at night. By comparison, U46 targets about 33 students in its middle and high school classrooms, according to Fox. Lunch recesses are staffed one adult to each class — about 22 to 34 students. Middle school students attend school from about 9 a.m. to 3:25 p.m., and high-schoolers, from 7:40 a.m. to 2:55 p.m., she said. For the rest of the story, visit The Courier-News. Photo: Sun-Times Media.

In Uncategorized on January 10, 2012 at 10:23 am

U46 schools chief gathers food for thought during trip to China (Sun-Times Media)

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