As I mentioned in my previous blog, one of the major goals for my project is to help Chester County and Yanqing District to start some initiatives. Education is a certainly a field both sides want to work on. However, without the understanding of the education system in both Chester County and Yanqing District, it would be difficult to propose any new policy. After my conference with commissioner Terrence Farewell last week, we set up a starting place. First, I will be doing some research on the different education systems. Second, I will be viewing Chester County’s old document with Yongchuan(Chongqing). They established a sister county relationship back in 2014. Click here to view more about their relationship.
Chester County has 12 public school districts, including West Chester Area School District, Unionville-Chadds Ford District, Avon Grove School District and many more. The location of school districts is shown below.
Each public school district has its own elected school board and schools from elementary schools to high school. There are also charter schools, which are independent schools established by parents, teachers or community groups along with national or local corporations. Some of these are non-profit and some are for profit. Charter schools are publicly funded with the same funding as public schools . The third type of schools are private schools, Westtown being one of them. These schools receive no public funding, follow state education requirements for private schools and have their own Boards of Directors. I will have a more detailed meeting with a representative from the Chester County’s Education Department. Further information about specific schools in Chester County will be captured in later blogs.
For schools in Yanqing, there are many public schools from elementary schools to high schools. Yanqing has only branch campuses of schools in central Beijing. Primary schools and middle schools there are similar to the system in the states. However, to get into a high school, all students need to take an exam which is similar to the SSAT (Secondary School Admission Test). There will be a minimum score for each high school in the district. There are some special opportunities for students to get into high school earlier if they have some expertise, such as a recognition from Olympic Math Competition. There is a selective process in getting into a top high school such as NO.1 Yanqing high school.
The goal for my work is to find schools to pair up in both Chester County and Yanqing County. In the meantime, I will be viewing documents on the county’s previous establishment of a sister county and work on a draft for the new agreement.