In the regularly scheduled Greensburg Community Schools (GCS) board meeting Tuesday, GCS welcomed Phil Boley and Jessica Yu from Global Indiana.
Global Indiana helps create connections between foreign and Indiana schools, including Japan, China, Thailand and Germany.
Executive director of Global Indiana, Phil Boley, appeared to tout the benefits of GCS becoming involved with cultural exchange.
Primarily focusing on China, the program would give some students the chance to travel to China to a sister school, and would stay with a host family for approximately two weeks.
The trip would cost $2,600, said Boley, which is considerably less than the average $7,800 a two-week trip to China would cost. The students would have an interpreter with them, and Global Indiana offers the means to get Chinese language teachers into schools at the elementary level.
The sister school and GCS would be encouraged to interact beyond exchange students; some schools hold class Skype conferences, exchange art, and ask each other questions about cultural differences.
“The Chinese students ask some challenging questions,” said Boley, “They can be hard to answer.”
Boley included a slide show showing scenic ocean photographs, Chinese high school girls flashing the “V for victory” sign, and American and Chinese elementary students mingling.
Greenfield has successfully been part of the program for 26 years, Boley mentioned, but in order for the exchange program to be successful, the schools need the support of the principals, superintendents, mayor, and the highest city officials.
Mayor Gary Herbert spoke after Boley’s presentation. The mayor encouraged GCS to implement the program as a means to bring jobs in the future.
“The city is willing to share expenses, whatever it takes,” said Mayor Herbert. “I don’t want to lose this opportunity with China.”
Herbert explained some cultural differences between China and America, and talked about the importance for Chinese businesses to be familiar with their partners on a personal level before establishing business relations.
“We’re 26 years behind,” said Herbert, “We’re not up to par with Greenfield. This is not just about vacations.”
Boley shared that the relationships built on the elementary and high school levels would last lifetimes. Mayor Herbert endorsed those relationships as a way to bring Chinese business owners to Greensburg 20, 30 years in the future.
Jessica Yu, Global Indiana board member, spoke briefly, saying that she has never heard anyone complain or be disappointed with Global Indiana’s services.
In other news, superintendent Tom Hunter announced preliminary plans to make additions to Greensburg High School, and also implement the One to One program to receive iPads for Greensburg students, like Decatur Community Schools have done recently.
The construction would be to establish a work space for students to learn vocational trades such as welding, and electrician-related studies. The current classes through C4 require a three hour investment due to the hour-long travel, and the investment into creating a nearby location would be well worth the effort, said Hunter.
“I want to get the community behind it,” said Hunter.
The initial cost may be considerable, but the local industries support GCS’ preliminary plans, said Hunter, due to many GCS students likely seeking jobs through industry work in their futures.
Hunter also said that he had been looking into the One to One program to help get GCS up-to-date on technological learning. Hunter made no definite statement as to if GCS would be starting the program, but said that GCS need to examine if they are capable of funding the program.
Hunter moved on to say that GCS teachers have received the $500,500 Excellence in Performance teachers grant. The grant is to be divided amongst the teachers.
GCS also received a donation from Knights of St. John totaling $2,951.90 to be given to each building for their special education departments.
Game Plan Graphics donated $150 to the Greensburg High School football program, and Main Street Greensburg donated $100 to the Greensburg Junior High School band.
The next GCS board meeting has been scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Tuesday March 19.
Contact: Tess Rowing 812-663-3111 x7004