Kyrgyzstani Educators Check Out TSA

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Front Page / Mar. 16, 2017 9:01am EDT

By Cal Hale


Head of School Michael Livingston, right, discusses the Sharon Academy’s use of yurts as classrooms Monday during a visit with a delegation of educators from the Kyrgyz Republic. (Provided) Head of School Michael Livingston, right, discusses the Sharon Academy’s use of yurts as classrooms Monday during a visit with a delegation of educators from the Kyrgyz Republic. (Provided) The Sharon Academy High School and Middle School welcomed a delegation of educators from the Kyrgyz Republic on Monday.

The visitors were Astra Asanalieva, head of the Methodology Department in the Kochkor District Educational Department; Artur Bakirov, director of a National Testing Center in the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic; Olga Gladkova, a primary school teacher and head of the Methodical Association at the Bilim Ordo School; and Olzhobai Mazhilimoz, a chief specialist in the Batken Regional Educational Department. They were accompanied by two interpreters.

The visit, which was the first time in the United States for all four, was arranged by the Institute of International Education through the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

The delegation is visiting five different schools in the U.S., and came to Sharon after a prior visit to a school in New York City.

At the high school, the group received a tour before meeting with several faculty members and students in one of the school’s yurts. They were pleased to meet in the yurt, which is a traditional structure in Kyrgyzstan. Bakirov explained some of the benefits of its circular shape and skylight to the faculty and students, while holding a felt model of a Kyrgyz yurt which he had brought with him.

In the meeting, faculty and students discussed some of the unique aspects of managing and attending a small independent school, including independent studies, student-taught elective classes, and commuting from The Sharon Academy’s 20 sending towns.

Bakirov was especially interested in the idea of student-taught electives, and the entire group was impressed by several students’ long commutes.

The group spoke of schools of various sizes in Kyrgyzstan. Many schools represent only one or two small villages, and students commute by foot. However, cities can have much larger schools, as Gladkova oversees 25 first-through -fourth-grade classes in one elementary school. She employs some student teaching, as third graders have the opportunity to teach lessons in first grade classrooms.

After a homemade lunch at the high school, the group proceeded to the middle school, where preparation for the annual middle school circus was in its first day. The visitors learned about the creation of the circus and spoke with more faculty members.

After a successful and valuable cultural exchange for everyone involved, the group continued on their way to visit Craftsbury that afternoon.

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