In Partnership with The 74

Chinese educators check out what Alliance charter school does best

Mike Szymanski | January 26, 2016



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Principal Bobby Carr with Chinese delegation’s Mark Yang

A delegation of educators from Beijing spent much of today visiting an Alliance College-Ready Public School to find out what they could incorporate into their curriculums.

Members of the delegation seemed delighted in the idea of having a computer device for every student, which they don’t yet have in China. But, they were perplexed about how to get parents and families more involved in the education of their children. The biggest stunner, however, was that teachers at the Alliance Alice M. Baxter College-Ready High School in San Pedro were often sitting among the students, not standing up giving a lecture.

“We want the students to do some of the learning on their own; we don’t want to be up here in front of the class,” explained Robert Pambello, the Alliance area superintendent.

“I want to be up there,” blurted out one of the teachers from the Beijing delegation.

The delegation made the stop at the LAUSD charter school after Mark Yang from Triway International Group heard about the success of the largest non-profit charter management organization in Los Angeles, serving nearly 12,000 students in 27 schools. He took the group of about 20 to meet educators at UC Irvine and charter and public schools in Washington, D.C.

“We heard about the successes here, especially about the graduation rates, and we asked to visit here to learn about strategies, curriculum, new technologies and teaching practices that are clearly producing fantastic results for students,” said Yang. The school says 91 percent of the students graduate in four years and 99 percent are accepted to colleges.

“The teachers want to make sure they are teaching things that they can use in life, and not something students will never use again,” Yang added. “It is off-the-page teaching that they are learning.”

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The teacher is in among the students in these classrooms.

One of the visitors just celebrated his first 100 days as a principal at a K-12 Beijing school, which has 2,500 students. Principal Yan Li said schools in China are facing a teacher shortage, and he wanted to encourage students to go into the profession of teaching. His teachers generally have about 40 students per class.

Beijing school district superintendent Wynn Wong said they are experimenting at some schools with a computer device for every student and is impressed with how Alliance is handling the one-to-one device distribution.

“We are trying now to involve parents more in the schools. We have some parent leadership groups, but it is challenging,” said Wong. “Parents don’t want to challenge teachers.”

Bobby Carr, the school principal, talked about how the student population is generally two grade levels behind but catches up quickly. He also said the students have longer school days and a longer calendar schedule than traditional schools.

“We are proud of the progress of our students at our school and happy to share any of our practices with the world,” he said.

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