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Depew schools may invite Chinese student

The Depew School District is considering a Chinese exchange student.

That's among possibilities being explored by the district following Superintendent Jeffrey Rabey's recent trip to China, where he visited four schools in Kunming, capital of Yunnan province.

Early last month, Rabey went on a one-week trip of 300 American educators from 16 states. Rabey participated through the Confucius Institute program, which opened last April at the University at Buffalo.

Part of a network of 300 Confucius Institutes around the world, UB's organization is dedicated to promoting the teaching of Chinese language and culture in Western New York. It is a collaborative program involving UB's Asian Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences; Capital Normal University, UB's partner in Beijing; and the Chinese Language Council International (Hanban), which provided funding.

Rabey, who gave a presentation about his trip during Tuesday's Board of Education meeting, said the program aims to promote cultural understanding, learning the strengths of the Chinese and American educational systems and promoting the learning of Chinese culture and language.

The program also explores how students can be prepared for China's rising role in the global economy and what language and cultural curriculum students will need in the 21st century, he said.

Among his observations of China are that English is taught beginning in kindergarten, classes are 50-70 students in size and the school year is comparable to that of public schools in the United States, but the school days are between 1 and 1 1/2 hours longer.

At the post-high school Kunming Foreign Language School, with yearly tuition of about 7,000 U.S. dollars, students are prepped primarily by American and Australian teachers to take the ACT college-entrance exam.

"The students apply mostly to Midwestern U.S. colleges and universities," Rabey said.

In other business, officials announced that the Depew High School Parent-Teacher-Student Organization is sponsoring a free program on cyber bullying and "sexting" at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 19 in the high school auditorium. Agent Jeffrey A. Tricoli of the FBI's Buffalo Office will speak.

For more information, visit, or call 686-5065.

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