GREENSBURG — Last week, officials with Greensburg Community Schools (GCS) joined their counterparts at Decatur County Community Schools (DCCS) in welcoming a Chinese school administrator from Suichang, China, Greensburg’s official “sister city.”
According to Greensburg Junior High School (GJHS) Principal Matt Clifford, Mao Weihua, principal of Suichang Yucai Middle School, toured all three GCS buildings during his day-long visit to the district. Clifford chaperoned Weihua’s visit, and hosted the Chinese principal at GJHS for the majority of the stay.
“We spent the morning at the elementary school and the high school,” Clifford explained. “We spent the afternoon at our school.”
Clifford told the Daily News the visit was interesting, enlightening and educational.
Weihua and his GCS escorts toured class-to-class in the morning, Clifford said, with Weihua making observations and asking several questions.
One of the biggest differences the Chinese principal noticed was the amount of collaborative, hands-on group work at GCS schools compared to China.
“Over there,” Clifford said, “students are largely to themselves throughout the class period.”
Upon Weihua’s arrival at GJHS to spend the afternoon, a small group of students and teachers held a welcoming celebration for the Chinese principal. Students made banners and presented Weihua with letters and gifts, including a letter jacket, an English textbook and a curriculum guide.
“He was very interested in our English curriculum,” Clifford noted, adding that it was “interesting to see our students interact with him.”
For his part, Weihua presented GJHS students with a painting by a Chinese student.
After the welcoming event, Clifford and GJHS Assistant Principal Deb Smith sat down with Weihua for an “administrative conversation.” Topics during the session included operational practices, scheduling, evaluations and curriculum creation, according to Clifford.
“We talked to him about what we’re working on at the junior high school,” the GJHS principal added, “and he got an insight into how we run things on an administrative level. We saw differences and similarities between our two systems, but we saw far more similarities.”