FORTVILLE — In the past two years, Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation has challenged itself to become a member of the global education community. The corporation has made progress on that goal by creating connections with schools in China, Taiwan, Germany, Spain and South Korea.

Recently, a group of teachers from Anshan, China, visited Mt. Vernon in the hope of creating a student exchange program in the future.

In 2016, Mt. Vernon’s administrators met educators from Anshan at the Global Education Forum held in Kokomo. This year, the Global Education Forum was conducted in Taiwan and attended by Mt. Vernon administrators and teachers who made presentations on elementary and secondary education in America.

Connections were made and plans were organized for the Anshan teachers to visit Indiana for two weeks to learn about Mt. Vernon and explore the idea of a student exchange program.

While in Indiana, the educators visited several classrooms to observe differences in classroom structure between American schools and Chinese schools. The Anshan team took the opportunity to take in some tourist activities, including the Indianapolis Museum of Art, shopping at the Edinburgh Mall and a Pacers game.

Several of the Chinese educators shared their thoughts.

“I come here for the change of program and to gain experience on management, teacher and student management,” said Wang Jin, a high school vice principal from Anshan. “I want to finish the exchange program and build up the relationship with principals, teachers and students.”

English instructor Ma June said: “As an observer, I went to many classrooms and want to see what materials they use: internet, textbooks and their teaching method. I am interested in especially the second language teaching acquisition in the classroom (French, Spanish classrooms). Most interesting to me is teachers stay in same classroom and the students move. I watched classrooms where teachers do programming at different levels in one classroom. That is different from China. Also, the management here is very high level.”

In the future, Mt. Vernon High School principal, Greg Roach, hopes to send students from Mt. Vernon to China so they can experience different cultures.

“I hope we are able to develop our relationship with the high schools in Anshan and they send students to visit us in the future. I also hope we are able to send students to Anshan in the future,” he said.