Students flourish in exchange program
Monday, at the Jenks Public Schools Board of Education meeting, foreign exchange students from Chengdu #7 High School in Chengdu, China shared their experiences with the JPS school board from their time in Jenks and the United States.
Since 2003, Jenks High School has partnered with Chengdu #7 High School in an exchange program. Each fall, Chengdu #7 sends two teachers and roughly 10 students to Jenks for three weeks. The Chengdu teachers usually stay into November.
In the spring, Jenks High School sends two staff members and approximately 10 students to China for three weeks. In the past 16 years, more than 200 students and staff from Jenks High School and more than 200 students and staff from Chengdu have participated in the program.
Jenks High School teacher Justin McCrackin is in charge of the program on the Jenks High School side. McCrackin said during those three weeks the Chinese exchange students are here in Jenks, countless students and staff welcome their guests and give them a taste of what life in the United States and particularly Jenks is like.
Teachers open their classrooms willingly in order to share what JHS’ educational practices entail. This year, Chengdu visitors participated in the annual Pom Fashion Show; visiting the planetarium, the Southeast Elementary Immersion Program, Agricultural Program, The Tulsa Port of Catoosa and the Tulsa Zoo.
They also joined in classroom lessons involving leadership, human anatomy, yearbook, advanced film, foods and nutrition and others.
Last spring, McCrackin was one of the faculty members who went to Chengdu. He said his experience was great.
“I had the honor of being one of the sponsors for the program,” he said. “While in Chengdu, school rankings were released for high schools in China and Chengdu #7 was ranked No. 4 in the entire country. We are truly blessed to have this relationship with such an exceptional school and the experience for students and staff is life changing.”
This spring, assistant principal Eric Vanzee and Mandy Anders will sponsor 11 Jenks High School students in Chengdu.