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06/11/2013

Winthrop and Rock Hill Educators Head to China to Teach Classroom Technology

Quick Facts

 India Hook’s principal, Crystal Guyton, and two India Hook elementary teachers - Heather Rollings and Stacy Bunchman - will travel to Beijing from June 11-21 to teach in a Chinese classroom.
 Jennie Rakestraw, dean of the Winthrop University Richard W. Riley College of Education, was asked by Kappa Delta Pi, the national education honor society, to identify a high-performing elementary school in the University-School Partnership Network that might be interested in participating in a unique elementary education conference in Beijing.

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Jennie Rakestraw
ROCK HILL, S.C. – In an elementary school in Beijing, Chinese school officials are creating a replica of a classroom just like one found in India Hook Elementary School in Rock Hill, S.C.

India Hook’s principal, Crystal Guyton, and two India Hook elementary teachers - Heather Rollings and Stacy Bunchman - will travel to Beijing from June 11-21 to teach in that classroom. The Beijing school officials have purchased similar desks, iPads and other instructional materials for the Rock Hill group to use.

The American educators will demonstrate effective teaching strategies and share tips on how India Hook Elementary has become a high-performing school.

How did these far-flung groups get together? Jennie Rakestraw, dean of the Winthrop University Richard W. Riley College of Education, was asked by Kappa Delta Pi, the national education honor society, to identify a high-performing elementary school in the University-School Partnership Network that might be interested in participating in a unique elementary education conference in Beijing.

Rakestraw said she reached out to the Rock Hill school district to identify a school for this international partnership. Through a process that involved review of student achievement data, India Hook Elementary School was invited to participate, according to Harriet Jaworowski, Rock Hill’s associate superintendent for accountability and instruction.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for their students and ours,” Jaworowski said. “The students have already connected through Skype and Facetime this spring so they’ve been able to see other and speak English. We want to continue adding more global opportunities for our Rock Hill students.”

While in China, the Americans will share tips on how to use technology in the early grades and how to shape a teacher education program.

Winthrop officials who also will be making the trip – Rakestraw, Lisa Johnson, senior associate to the education dean, and Beth Costner, associate dean for education programs for the College of Arts and Sciences – will present sessions on teacher preparation, educational assessment and Winthrop’s successful NetSCOPE School Partnership Network program.

And the Winthrop officials hope to sign agreements with two schools, ZhongGuanCun Third Elementary School in Beijing and Shangahi Far East School in Shanghai, that will allow teacher education majors to finish their senior internship in February so they can spend March and April in China before they graduate in May.

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