|Ms Kirsten Bradby Beavan with the delegation|
A new partner in Education
A new partnership was established between Woodstock and an American school district in Texas this week, with the aim of forging friendship and future exchanges of students and curricula.
A delegation from Hurst-Euless-Bedford (HEB) Independent School District in Fort Worth, Dallas, visited Woodstock on Monday to formally sign an agreement to mark the establishment of the Student and Teacher Exchange Programme (STEP)
The five person delegation consisted of Mike Harris (Principal of Trinity High School), Bhavani Parpia (Co-ordinator of the HEB's International Business Initiative), Faye Beaulieu (HEB School Board President), Steve Chapman (Deputy Superintendent of Educational Operations) and Jim Banister (Principal of LD Bell High School).
HEB school district is made up of the cities of Hurst, Euless and Bedford which lies in the shadow of Dallas Fort Worth airport, and has 22,000 students from Kindergarten through to Grade 12; with 19 elementary schools, five junior high schools, and two high schools. It was the first school district in the US to teach Hindi in seventh grade, and also offers lessons in Arabic and Mandarin.
It has a similar partnership with Yichang School in Hubei Province in China, and one student visit has already taken place. HEB district has many similarities to Woodstock. Like Woodstock, it values its diverse student community, with 70 different nationalities represented in its student body, including children from Pakistan, Mexico, India, Vietnam, South Korea, India, Tonga, Sudan, and the Middle East.
Another common vision shared by both partners is the desire to develop students who will contribute positively and give back to society in the future. HEB's motto is "Empowering Today to Excel Tomorrow".
The Memorandum of Understanding signed between Woodstock and HEB outlines the purpose of the partnership as allowing "new perspectives between students and teachers to develop". It says that as "the United States and India will be the world's leaders in the 21st century, it is essential that our students develop and nurture a strong understanding and friendship," and that the "new global economy requires an international education".
It is hoped annual student and teacher exchanges will be established between Woodstock and HEB as well as exchanges of curriculum information, teaching resources and student work to promote cross-cultural understanding and friendship.
Woodstock Director of Admissions Kirsten Bradby Beavan, who was instrumental in setting up the partnership, said she was delighted the new link had been inaugurated, which she said would open up lots of opportunities for staff and students at both institutions.
HEB School Board President Faye Beaulieu said the partnership would give students in their district a real boost as they seek to understand the growing economies of Asia.
The new partnership ties in with Woodstock's new 2020 vision, which seeks to promote mutually supportive relationships with educational institutions worldwide who share our goals.
Photos by Development Associate (Photographer) Phuriwat Chiraphisit