La Porte ISD's Global Studies Program receives statewide recognition
from Texas School Business magazine
LA PORTE, TEXAS- Texas School Business magazine has
announced that La Porte ISD's Global Studies Program is one of 12 programs to
be honored in the magazine's second annual Bragging
Rights special issue. Bragging Rights
recognizes school districts that have implemented programs that are bettering
the lives of students, schools and communities. The special issue was
distributed on Dec. 1 to more than 25,000 readers with a vested interest in
Texas public education.
Twenty La Porte High School
students traveled to China in March 2008 as the first participants in the
Global Studies Program, which was organized and funded by the La Porte
Education Foundation. Three educators
and a Foundation representative accompanied the students on the trip, where
they had the opportunity to attend Nankai High School, stay with a Chinese
family, and visit sites such as the Great Wall and Forbidden City.
Twenty-four students from China,
along with their vice principal and teacher, will visit La Porte in February
2009, staying with families of La Porte students who participated in the
spring. Another group of 20 La Porte
students will be chosen to travel to China in June 2009.
"We were impressed by La Porte
ISD's ingenuity in establishing an exchange program so that students can
experience an education beyond books and borders," said Texas School Business Editor Katie Ford. "La Porte ISD's China
exchange initiative is a model program, and we're proud to highlight it as an
example of excellence in Texas public education."
"It's a great honor for our
district to be recognized by Texas School
Business magazine," said La Porte ISD Superintendent Lloyd W. Graham "Our Global Studies Program has made a tremendous
impact on the students and teachers involved. We are grateful to our Board of Trustees for
supporting the program, former Superintendent Dr. Michael Say and his
Administration for facilitating it, and La Porte Education Foundation leaders
for spearheading this project and offering this special opportunity to our
Don Empfield, 2007-08 president of
the La Porte Education Foundation, worked with Foundation members and
representatives from La Porte High School in implementing the project.
"The China Project 2008 was a great
opportunity for our students of La Porte ISD, our teachers that participated
and the entire community that came together for this event," he said. "It has become a 'life changing event' for
our community through the enhanced knowledge of a significant part of the world
that was isolated from us just 30 years ago, but now has been seen and experienced
by our youth of La Porte. Relationships have been formed, eyes have been opened
and communications established from Tianjin, China, to La Porte, Texas, through
teachers prepared for the trip through "China School" classes held after school
and on weekends. Nancy Li, executive
vice president of Easton Resource Development, Inc., worked with the teachers
leading the program to help all participants learn about Chinese culture,
language, historical sites, and much more.
Li also is working closely with representatives from Nankai High School
as they prepare to visit La Porte in February.
Project for La Porte ISD was greatly envisioned and sponsored by La Porte
Education Foundation, and I am so happy to see its success and impact on the
students and faculty members, as well as the whole community," Li said. "It
is my great pleasure to work with the Foundation in that we brought to La
Porte not only a new China, but also a new global vision to our next
generation. We are very confident that with the continuing efforts of
this project, the seeds of friendship, cooperation and
communication with the other side of the world will continue growing and
the harvest will be surely greater."
Students who participated in the program continue to keep in touch with
their "China buddies," and many feel that they will be lifelong friends. The 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing was a
special opportunity for La Porte students to correspond with their friends from
China, text-messaging back and forth about sites that they had seen first-hand
during their visit.
Participants are chosen through an application process in which they answer
essay questions about their desire to participate in the trip. Identifying information is removed from the
essays, which are then reviewed and ranked by members of a Foundation
committee. This year's trip participants
will be informed of their selection on Dec. 19.
For 55 years,
has served as the independent voice for public education
in Texas. The magazine, which is produced in Austin and distributed 10 times a
year, is read by educators and school administrators across Texas. Nominations
for the 2009-2010 issue of Bragging
Rights are now being accepted. For more information, visit www.texasschoolbusiness.com.