Delegation from China Visits Minuteman High School
Minuteman High School recently hosted a visit from high school and middle school teachers from Beijing, China. The 14-person delegation wanted to visit Minuteman’s career and technical programs and learn about its efforts to promote science, technology, arts, engineering and math (STEAM) education.
Officially known as the Beijing Teachers STEAM Training Program, the teachers from Beijing #80 were nearing the tail end of a two-week visit to the United States. During that time, the teachers visited a host of schools, including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Rhode Island School of Design, and Brown University.
“We’re always happy to show off the projects that our students work on here at Minuteman,” said Michelle Roche, Minuteman’s Director of Career and Technical Education. Ms. Roche led the group on visits to several programs including Biotechnology, Engineering Technology, Robotics, Environmental Science, Art, and Music.
In Biotechnology, teacher Mark Jurman described a student experiment “in which students introduced DNA that expresses a fluorescent protein into E. coli cells, and subsequently visualized the protein using gel electrophoresis." Mr. Jurman said the work was “exactly like what is done in industry around the world”. Mr. Jurman got big smiles and applause from the Chinese teachers when he told them that he had adopted two children from China.
In Engineering Tech, teacher Becky Quay described Minuteman’s Girls in STEM, a program where adult females in science, technology, engineering and math careers mentor female high school students interesting in pursuing STEM careers. In turn, the high school students mentor female middle school students.
During lunch, the teachers asked Minuteman administrators about a host of topics, including information technology, building self-confidence in female engineering students, scheduling of academic courses, teacher training, and transferring of students from one technical program to another.
In response to questions from their hosts, the Chinese teachers said they had been impressed by the quality of higher education that they’ve seen in the United States. They also said that the Americans they had interacted with on the trip had been hospitable and “kind.”
The educators from China teach a wide range of subjects, including physics, mathematics, political science, English, Chinese, and physical education.
At the end of the three-hour visit, Ms. Roche presented a small Minuteman flag to physics teacher Luo Yuxing, who accepted on behalf of the delegation. Luo Yuxing then presented Ms. Roche with a neck tie and silk scarf from the Chinese teachers. Ms. Roche also handed out a Minuteman decal and commemorative coin to each member of the delegation.
Following the visit to Minuteman on Feb. 8, the Chinese delegation headed off to visits at Yale University and in New York.
The trip was sponsored by the CAN Scholastic Foundation. The Foundation was created by the Chinese Culture and Education Center (CCEC), a non-profit designed to promote understanding and cooperation between Chinese and non-Chinese speaking countries. The CCEC’s website may be found at www.ccecbridge.org.
Nancy Stewart and Dr. Jianli Wang from CCEC said the teachers are planning a new STEAM program for ninth-grade students at their school in Beijing.
Following the visit to the U.S., the teachers will do online follow-up work from March until May. Some American teachers will be asked to visit Beijing for two weeks in June or July.
Also speaking to the Chinese delegation during the visit were Minuteman Principal Jack Dillon, Director of Outreach & Development Steven C. Sharek, and Dr. Stacy Scott, President of the Center for Understanding Equity. Dr. Scott, a professor at Boston University and former Superintendent of Schools in Framingham, has visited China five times.
Minuteman has had a decade-long interest in establishing closer ties to the workforce development and technical education system in China. Minuteman Superintendent Dr. Edward Bouquillon visited China in 2007 and again in 2011. Minuteman has hosted a series of visits from Chinese officials and educators, including the Principal of Wuhu Industrial Vocational School and a delegation of more than 30 people from the Beijing Day School.
Educators from Minuteman have been invited to visit Beijing #80 this coming summer.