Foreign Exchange Program
About the program...
Anchor Bay High School welcomed forty-six 10th and 11th grade students from Beijing, China for the 2017-18 school year. These students are the first of many to partake in an annual educational and cultural exchange program in our district. The foreign exchange program promises to be a great experience for our students, staff, and the community.
The district researched the program for two years and partnered in a summer camp program. Our families participated and hosted elementary students from Beijing during a three-week summer camp. Staff and community support for expanding a foreign exchange program was overwhelming.
MacDonald International Dormitory
In 2017, renovations occurred over the summer months at the MacDonald building to create dorms for the exchange students. No general fund or bond money was used to create the modest living quarters and classroom spaces. The foreign exchange program is completely self-sufficient due to tuition paid by the exchange students. The dormitory has plenty of room for the program to grow, but also the renovations were made in such a way that the building could easily, and inexpensively, go back to a school.
Thriving Mentor Program
Our students have embraced this opportunity to gain a better understanding of the Chinese language and culture. A mentor program was created at the high school. Our students have asked for more and more opportunities to interact with the Chinese students outside of the regular school day. Click here to learn more about the Anchor Bay Mentor Program.
We live in a global society, and China is a dominant player in the world. Our students are learning about their customs and culture, and more importantly, gaining life-long connections with their peers. It is part of Anchor Bay’s mission for our students to respect diversity. The over 50 mentors who have volunteered to help our exchange students show that they not only respect diversity, they have embraced it.
District-Wide Benefits of the Program
The foreign exchange program has already allowed us to expand our learning opportunities for local kids. Anchor Bay now offers Mandarin as a foreign language for kindergarten through third-grade students with the intention of being K-12 by 2019. Research shows that students who learn a foreign language have a greater awareness of other cultures, develop critical and creative thinking skills, and consistently outperform control groups in core subject areas on standardized tests.
The foreign exchange program is also a financially sound investment that will add to the district’s programs and fund equity over the coming years. The program will help the district offset a decline in enrollment due to statistically low birth rates. It is a stable revenue source that will not be affected by constant changes to State funding. This will allow the district to expand course offerings, create a textbook cycle, expand instructional technology, and allocate more funds to student services.
If you have questions about the program or would like to become more involved, please contact Chelsey Schell at firstname.lastname@example.org.