Superintendent makes second trip to China
JANESVILLE Superintendent Karen Schulte is on her way to China, district spokesman Brett Berg said Wednesday.
Schulte and Robert Smiley, the district's chief information officer, "are attending numerous educational, business and partnership meetings in China," according to a statement the district issued after The Gazette asked about the trip.
"The itinerary includes visits with representatives from Beijing Normal University and possibly East China University," the announcement states. "The goal of these meetings is to sign a memorandum of understanding and form a partnership (teacher exchange) between the School District of Janesville and the above mentioned universities."
Schulte and Smiley will visit elementary and secondary schools in Beijing "with a focus on setting up sister-school relationships and promoting the Summer Institute."
The Summer Institute is a proposed project in which 20 students from China would travel to Janesville for an educational experience with 20 Janesville students.
The trip is privately financed, Berg said, but he said details should come from Schulte.
In addition to bolstering the district's Chinese language and international studies programs, agreements with Chinese schools could bring tuition-paying Chinese students to Janesville, Schulte has said.
Schulte also has talked about the possibility of the Janesville School District hosting Chinese student teachers in February.
Schulte and school board member Kristin Hesselbacher traveled to China in November to lay the groundwork for the current trip.
Schulte was at Tuesday night's school board meeting, where the board considered the first reading of a new policy that calls for "strategic alliances" for the good of the district.
The new policy states that the board "encourages administration to pursue strategic alliances as opportunities arise."
The policy defines an alliance as "a joint venture … which brings benefit to the district and/or the students … which may or may not obligate the district to provide something in return."
Among those with which an alliance could be made are "local, state, national and international governmental entities," including businesses, schools, colleges and universities.