A delegation of Japanese teachers gets a taste of American education.
Like any visitors, they took photos, videotaped interesting events and asked questions of their tour guides.
But these visitors from Fukuoka, Japan, aren't in Lawrence just to sightsee. They are teachers learning about the American educational system.
"Here (in Lawrence), children enjoy school life and they are very cheerful, very active," said Ohgi Nobuyuki, assistant chief for the Fukuoka Board of Education. "Japanese children used to be reserved but recently they have become more Americanized, so they are getting close to your students."
Nobuyuki and 25 teachers from primary and secondary schools from Fukuoka toured Hillcrest School on Monday and took a firsthand look into classrooms, with Hillcrest students serving as tour ambassadors.
Fifth-grade student Adrienne Birt showed visitors the school's showcase, which reflects the diversity of the Hillcrest population. Hillcrest has the highest number of international students in the Lawrence school district.
"They know now if they have anyone (students) come here they get a chance to show off stuff from their countries," Adrienne said.
While many of the Japanese teachers do not speak English, they understand it and are traveling with an interpreter.
"I'm sure they understand our school," Adrienne said. "I didn't think they would know any English."
The Japanese educators talked with Hillcrest Principal Bob Arevalo about honesty, integrity and what American educators want their students to learn.
"We want to send a message to our guests about Hillcrest and what we value," Arevalo said. "We want to stress how we value teaching and learning and what a supportive parent group we have. We have to have that or we wouldn't have the successes that we do."
The opportunity for students to interact with visitors from other countries is rewarding, Arevalo said.
"Travel and exposure to different (educational) systems helps us grow," he said. "We're not just confined to the U.S."
The Japanese delegation will tour Southwest Junior High School today, and Lawrence High School on Wednesday.
-- JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.