by Jason M. Rodriguez
One dozen Chinese educators from the Zhejiang Province are scheduled to be in Logansport tonight as officials from both sides prepare to sign cultural exchange agreements with seven Logansport schools.
Logansport and Chinese officials have been talking for more than a year now on partnerships, potential sister city agreements and more. This week’s meetings are the kick off of relationships that will lead into, among other things, a teacher exchange initiative, according to a press release issued by the city Monday.
“They are coming here intent on forming relationships with schools here in Logansport,” said Larry Ingraham of Ingraham and Associates at a Logansport Rotary Club meeting Monday. Ingraham, along with fellow consulting firm William-Lynn-James, was hired by the city in 2012 to foster relationships domestically and internationally on behalf of the city.
The seven schools in Logansport that will explore joining in the partnership include Logansport High School, Columbia Middle School, Lincoln Middle School, Fairview Elementary, Landis Elementary, Columbia Elementary and Franklin Elementary.
“This is the beginning, really,” Ingraham said. “Boy there’s so much opportunity down the road as we make a success of the school-to-school relationship.”
Michele Starkey, superintendent of the Logansport School Corporation, was also at the meeting and said there has been some hype among students throughout the corporation.
“Our students are really excited about the visit,” she said, adding several of the Chinese educators have expressed excitement to ride an American school bus. Starkey said the effort between the corporation, Ingraham, Mayor Ted Franklin and others, has been a great collaboration.
“It has really been such a team effort,” she said.
The group will spend time in Logansport, at the Statehouse and then fly to New York for a couple of days before heading back to China.
Ingraham said the partnerships should be exciting news for people in Logansport.
“These bridges that these seven schools will be forging with these seven schools in the province of Zhejiang will create roads of education over which opportunities could flow both ways,” Ingraham said. “That’s why we’re so excited about this. Obviously the more of these opportunities children here in Logansport at each of these seven schools will have to exchange ideas, to exchange artwork ... the better education will be here.”