After Chinese visitors toured Batesville High School and the area Nov. 11, Batesville Community School Corp. and Chinese administrators signed a memorandum of understanding between BHS and Pinghu Danghu (China) Senior High School at the Sherman House, superintendent Dr. Jim Roberts informed trustees Nov. 18. One side of the document was in English and the other in Chinese. According to him, “The Chinese visitors did say our town is a postcard.”
The Pinghu Danghu school day goes from 6:40 a.m.-5 p.m. with most staying until 9 p.m. for extended studies. Seniors go to school on Saturdays, too. He said, “99.9 percent” of the 2,000 students at that school go to college after passing a three-day test.
“They want to learn from us” how BHS teachers encourage creativity, innovation, problem solving and critical thinking. “They are interested in how we balance” school time with work and personal time. Next year Roberts hopes the schools can exchange students and faculty for two or three weeks. “They all do learn English there.”
Mandarin Chinese may be added to the BHS curriculum. Because of the two foreign languages currently offered, leaders also are pursuing sister relationships with South American and German cities.
Before purchasing iPads for Batesville Primary School and Batesville Intermediate School students to use starting in August, educators will tour two tech-savvy schools, Bluffton-Harrison Nov. 19 and Center Grove Dec. 5. He said, “We do find these visits to be extremely valuable” to learn how other schools implement 1:1 technology.
Trustees OK’d an overnight field trip to Orlando, Fla., March 19-23 for the BHS band and Batesville Singers, which will perform and attend workshops at Disney World. Roberts has attended similar trips in the past. “It is a great experience for them.”
On the proposed BCSC 2014-15 calendar, the Batesville Educators Association recommended taking the day off before Thanksgiving. To keep the correct state-mandated number of student days, trustees had five choices to add a day: a day prior to Aug. 6, during the holiday break, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day or after May 28. BEA was hesitant to start earlier than Aug. 6. Blessing asked, “Why not May 29?” Roberts noted a buffer day is needed after the last student day, May 28, for teachers to determine if a senior is indeed eligible to graduate before the May 30 graduation. The board approved taking the Wednesday off before Thanksgiving and going to school on Presidents Day.