Sister School Partnerships:
Sister school partnerships are as varied as the schools who engage in them. Bearing a nature similar to sister city partnerships, they often involve two schools signing an official sister school partnership agreement, implementing cooperative learning opportunities in academic subjects and extra-curriculum activities and promoting exchanges at the administrative and teaching level.
More often than not, schools with initial ideas of creating a sister school partnership in China do not necessarily know where to start. At China-US Sister Schools Association, we turn ideas into reality, at minimal cost to schools. Our services include, but are limited to, matching two schools with cooperative potential and capabilities, building up initial contact between school administrators, organizing site visits by school principals, drafting and signing an agreement, designing the implementing exchange programs and visits, etc.
Once a partnership is in place, communication activities can vary in depth and width. The basic form of communication is annual exchange visits by students and chaperone teachers. Based on these visits, some partnerships extend their cooperation to academic subjects and extra-curriculum activities such as basketball, drama, literature, orchestra band, life science, etc. When opportunities present themselves, exchanges between multiple partnerships from various countries can take communication to a higher level.
Over the past two decades, the excellence of our service has enabled us to expand sister school partnerships to schools in 403, 404 and 501 school districts in Kansas, and those in the neighborhood of Washington metropolitan area such as Montgomery County and Howard County in Maryland and Fairfax County and Loudoun County in Virginia. Apart from K-12 public schools, we also serve vocational schools and special education schools.
As a member of the National Travel Association, we make an effort to ensure that all studnets traveling internationally purchase customized travel insurance. Throughout the years, we are proud of the fact that a record of zero incident has been achieved in each and every trip we organized for the students from both countries.
During these visits, guest students shadow their host students' day at school and stay with their families. They will also take specially designed classes to learn the host country's culture. For instance, Chinese schools may offer classes ranging from paper cutting, Taiji, dumpling making, folk dance, Opera singing, etc. Similarly, American schools will offer Model Court, pottery and other special classes to Chinese guests. Following these in-school interactions, both countries' students will visit some of the most well-known tour sights to further experience the richness of the host country's culture.
Communication in Academic Areas
Literature Study Tour
The literature study tour is intended to offer a cooperative learning opportunity for American and Chinese students who are interested in learning about American literature.
During the two-week tour, Chinese students will join their peers in American schools to explore the lives and works of some of the most famous american writers. In Massachusetts, for example, students will visit the Walden Pond, where one of America's most famous writers, Henry David Thoreau stayed for two years and wrote about in his master work, Walden. Five minutes to the north is Ralph Waldo Emerson House, where the American philosopher Emerson wrote his famous essays "The American Scholar" and "Self Reliance". An equally important writer and the author of Little Woman, Louisa Alcott used to reside just a few miles away at Orchard House. En route to the New York City, students will stop by the Mark Twain House and Museum and attend a lecture on how to write a biography. The trip will culminate in the visit to the Library of Congress, the largest library in the world and the Folger Shakespeare Library located in Washington D.C.
In addition to these valuable onsite learning opportunities, students will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to sit down face to face and have conversations with winners of Pulitzer Prize or Nobel Prize in Literature.
Over the course of the two weeks, both countries' students learn, explore, travel and stay together across borders and cultures. They can reap the benefits of not only expanding the knowledge of American literature, but more importantly establishing an international friendship that will last for the rest of their lives.
Science Study Tour
The science study tour is offered to American and Chinese students who love to learn about a variety of science topics.
Chinese students will first visit their sister school in the U.S. and get to know the students, teachers and school administrators. They will then be assigned to science classes of their interest and experience the American way of learning and teaching, followed by science club activities after school. During the rest of the tour, they will attend the Park Outreach program at Living Classroom with American students, to learn about the natural world in an organized, outdoor setting. Activities include donning hip waders and exploring a local pond while learning about bio-indicators, using butterfly nets to catch and study local insects, going on a nature hike while learning to identify flora and fauna native to the Chesapeake Bay watershed, etc. They will also participate in a two-day Chesapeake Bay Watershed Project to study the ecosystem at the Bay area, explore the tidal salt marshes of the creek and learn about human being's influence on the Bay.
With numerous joint learning opportunities, the two countries'students learn about the nature, themselves and the culture they represent.
Communication in Extra-curriculum Activities
In partnership with Washington Wizards and the public school systems of Virginia and Maryland, we bring basketball teams of Chinese schools to the U.S. and experience American basketball competition along with great sightseeing opportunities.
Attend an American high school basketball game. Enter a tournament with a sister school team and see how your team stacks up. Have an early entry into the NBA court to get an exclusive look at game day preparations, or take a lifetime opportunity to high five the players as they enter the court for warm-ups. In between competitions, discover the best of what D.C. has to offer on a guided sightseeing tour.
We truly believe in the value of basketball exchanges between high schools from the two countries. It will not only enhance individual and team basketball skills, but more importantly make life-changing effects on participants through cross-cultural interaction.
Joint Performance - Drama, Orchestra, Symphony
For Chinese students interested in performing arts, we designed this invaluable opportunity to hone their skills, explore every facets of dramatic production, learn from recognized professional and interact their peers in the U.S.
Sponsored by Disney Performing Arts, Chinese students learn from Disney professionals through a series of workshops designed by entertainment experts and taught by Disney cast members. The workshops focus on a variety of topics and include classes such as performance lab, improvisational acting, auditions and careers: acting, etc. Then students land in Broadway and watch Lion King, one of the most popular shows in the world. Following the show is an interactive workshop at Broadway Classroom. Led by Broadway professionals and developed in accordance with the National Standards for Arts Education, this workshop is a great way to engage students in a variety of theatre disciplines and further enhance their Broadway experience. The next stop is the Steinhardt's Department of Music and Performing Arts at New York University, where students can learn about course design and explore career development opportunities for students studying performing arts.
The tour culminates in a joint performance of drama with American high schools students who possess the same interest and passion. Included in their performance was Romeo & Juliet, etc.
Apart from joint drama performance, we organized joint orchestra and symphony concerts for American and Chinese students.
Communication of School Administrators and Teachers
In a sister school partnership, school administrators have increased knowledge and first hand experience of a different education system. They also learn from their counterparts to better tackle educational challenges. Teachers are offered short-term teaching positions in their sister schools to exchange ideas and knowledge, share pedagogies and curriculum, improve proficiency in languages through added involvement in the language and culture and develop personal partnerships.