Wakefield School Head David Colón will travel to China in late October 2014 to cement a partnership with a Chinese school and attend a forum focused on international school partnership projects.
Wakefield’s new sister school, the Xuzhou #1 Middle School, is located in Xuzhou in Jiangsu Province. The school is for high school grades 10-12 and can trace its origins back to 1721. It has a focus on international exchanges and cooperation.
Colón will travel to Zhenjiang in the Jiangsu Province and attend the 10th Annual Jiangsu International Forum for School Principals, which is hosted by the Jiangsu Provincial Department of Education and the Zhenjiang Municipal Government.
The forum,“School Partnerships: Sharing the Dream,” will feature internationally renowned keynote speakers and workshops focused on school partnership projects, as well as opportunities to interact with Chinese principals and shadow at all different levels of schools. Principals will be attending from a variety of countries all with the objective of sharing experience and forging relationships with Jiangsu schools and each other.
Colón will also visit Beijing to explore partnership possibilities with the Harrow School’s Beijing campus.
In Colón’s previous work in global education, he worked with several Chinese schools and found them to be “willing and eager participants” in school partnerships; in addition, he remarked, students who have visited China have always been impressed with people’s hospitality and friendliness and eagerness to host students.
With this new partnership, Wakefield will be able to accomplish several goals, Colón said.
“One of the most obvious is to create student exchanges, both short and long-term. Not only will our students be able to visit China, but we will be able to host students from China here. This allows us to essentially bring China to Wakefield,” Colón said.
In addition, the partnership brings benefits beyond student exchanges such as collaboration on joint projects in math, science, English, or other subjects through Skype and Google Hangouts. There is the opportunity for joint global travel opportunities as well.
The partnership with the Xuzhou school will serve Wakefield’s students and provide them with the global experience they need to be successful in today’s world.
“It’s clichéd at this point, but nonetheless true: students need to be aware of the world around them. This goes well beyond textbook knowledge. Knowing about the Mughal Empire or the Kingdom of Songhai is important, but with an increasingly globalized economy, there is also a more immediate need for people who are good at cross-cultural communications,” Colón said. “Employers are placing increased importance on young women and men who can interact and work with people from around the world. While global travel most certainly broadens the mind, one of the main benefits of developing school partnerships is that students interact with one another in sustained and meaningful ways on a personal basis.”