Wright Elementary School To Host A Teacher From China Through State Department Program

Zhen Gu from China has been awarded a fellowship from the U.S. Department of State to participate in the 2015 Teachers of Critical Languages Program (TCLP).  Zhen will teach Chinese for a full academic year at Wright Elementary School in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.  Wright Elementary School participated in a nation-wide competition in order to host a TCLP teacher and Zhen is one of a total of 23 teachers who have been selected from China and Egypt for participation in TCLP.

According to Wright Elementary Principal Dr. Anita Choice, “This program will help Wright’s K-5 students be on the cutting edge of learning world languages.  As the world grows smaller through technology, it is vital that our students start at an early age learning more about the world.   It is very exciting to be a part of a program that brings a native Chinese instructor to our school.”

“The Teachers of Critical Languages Program is one of several State Department initiatives that support U.S. youth, students, teachers, and professors in learning critical world languages through instruction in the U.S. and abroad,” said Jennifer Gibson, Branch Chief, Teacher Exchange Programs.  “In particular, this program is designed to help U.S. schools and districts expand Mandarin and Arabic foreign language programs.”

“With Okaloosa County’s significant military population, we are directly affected by world events,” continued Dr. Choice.  “Wright Elementary will be a great choice for parents who want their children to be introduced to the Chinese language, and we look forward to growing this program over the years after this start.”

More About the Teachers of Critical Languages Program (TCLP)

TCLP is designed to increase the study and acquisition of important world languages in U.S. schools.  This program enables primary and secondary schools to strengthen their teaching of critical languages by bringing Egyptian and Chinese teachers to the U.S. to teach Arabic and Chinese language for an academic year.  Launched in 2006, TCLP has provided fellowships to over 190 primary and secondary school teachers of English from Egypt and China to teach in K-12 schools throughout the United States.

In addition to teaching their native languages, TCLP exchange teachers expand the understanding of the world in their U.S. host communities by establishing strong ties with teachers, students, parents and members of community, and by sharing information about their home countries and cultures. At the same time, teachers gain first-hand knowledge of the United States to share with students and fellow teachers in their home countries. Upon return, many of them establish lasting bonds between their U.S. host schools and their home schools in Egypt and China.

TCLP is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which promotes international mutual understanding through a wide range of academic, cultural, private-sector, professional and sports exchange programs. These exchanges engage youth, students, educators, artists, athletes and emerging leaders in the United States and in more than 160 countries. Alumni of ECA exchanges comprise over one million people around the world, including more than 50 Nobel Laureates and more than 350 current or former heads of state and government.

TCLP is implemented by American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, an international nonprofit organization that prepares individuals and institutions to succeed in an increasingly interconnected world. Since 1974, American Councils has responded to the needs of the communities where it works with hundreds of robust, international education programs that include academic exchanges, language immersion, testing and assessment, professional training, community development, and scholarly research.

Media Contact: Zara Hovhannisyan, Senior Program Manager: zhovhannisyan@americancouncils.org 202.833.7522

(Pictured above: Superintendent of Schools, Mary Beth Jackson, Zhen Gu, and Wright Elementary School Principal, Dr. Anita Choice.)