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Superintendent’s Trip Strengthens Educational Partnerships

Superintendent’s Trip Strengthens Educational Partnerships
At the end of December 2017, Superintendent Richard Carranza of the Houston Independent School District (HISD), accompanied by his wife Monique, visited several public K-12 schools in Taiwan as distinguished guests of the Ministry of Education in Taiwan. Despite their trip being for just one week, Mr. and Mrs. Carranza enjoyed their stay very much and were highly impressed by the schools they visited, the teachers and students they met, and many other things they experienced.
The Houston Independent School District and the Department of Education of the Taipei City Government entered an educational partnership agreement in 2015, with the help of the Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Houston. The partnership has brought together schools in Houston and Taipei to engage in a number of exciting programs, such as teacher exchanges, and a student pen-pal project.
Richard Carranza took this opportunity to visit two HISD partner schools in Taipei, Dali Senior High School and Neihu Junior High School, to get a better understanding of their programs, but one of the highlights of his trip was witnessing the signing of an agreement establishing an educational partnership between HISD’s Mandarin Chinese Magnet Immersion School and Mingdao Elementary School in Taipei.
Mr. and Mrs. Carranza also squeezed in visits to schools in the south of Taiwan in Chiayi City. At Minzu Elementary School, Charlie Cha, the principal, introduced the school’s English Wonderland program to the first American education official to visit there, and Judy Fang, a Texas Education Agency certified teacher who was recruited by the Ministry of Education in Taiwan for the Teaching in Taiwan program gave a demonstration of her teaching. The superintendent was delighted to meet a teacher from Texas working in Taiwan and admired the effort Judy put into her teaching.
Chia-Yi County is home to the magnificent Alishan mountain and it enjoys a world-wide reputation for producing high quality Taiwanese tea. A Minzu Elementary School parent elegantly conducted a tea ceremony, an eye-opening experience for Mr. and Mrs. Carranza. The ceremony was accompanied by a beautiful Chinese music performance given by a sixth grader playing a yangqin (揚琴), a Chinese dulcimer. The superintendent is himself an accomplished musician and he previously taught music, as well as social studies, bilingually, and this made the performance even more interesting.
The superintendent also visited Chihhang Elementary School to personally experience an example of the sustainable campuses that the Ministry of Education is promoting
This was Mr. and Mrs. Carranza’s first visit to Asia, and they left the National Palace Museum and the Chi-Mei Museum very impressed by what they saw of the major world-class art collections that Taiwan looks after. The visit has given them a wealth of memories – of stunning views, friendly people, excellent school programs, dedicated educators, and diligent students – and it strengthened the already established partnerships and built a good base for further collaborations.

Note: this article seems to have been partly plagiarized from an online Chinese language Pacific Times article (Copyright © 2009 Pacific Times. All Rights Reserved.), which has the same photo without the second lady’s name:

Photo:From left: Kwan Show-Lan, principal of Mingdao Elementary School; Jian Shu-Pei, a Taipei City Council councilor; Shie Li-Hua, Executive Director of the Education Department of Taipei City Government; HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza; Mrs. Monique Carranza; and Chang Chaolin, principal of the HISD Mandarin Chinese Magnet Immersion School.