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Thursday, April 03, 2014

Educators from Thailand visit MCPSS, learn about our schools

Posted by Rena Philips in General  |  Comments (2)

Twenty-two educators from Thailand are in Mobile County studying our schools.

That includes 11 administrators and faculty of Chiang Rai Rajabhat University and 11 doctoral candidates.

The group met with Mobile County schools Superintendent Martha Peek, Acting Chief Academic Officer Karen Mohr and others today to talk about Alabama’s largest school system. Its members will be touring Clark-Shaw Magnet, Allentown Elementary, Causey Middle and Baker High schools on Friday.

“The United States of America is the most powerful country in the world,” said Dr. Phoonchai Yawirach, vice dean of the university's Faculty of Education.

“Our main question is how the U.S. is the leader in the world,” he said. “We will learn and we will study during this trip. We hope to get some ideas of best practices in U.S. schools to apply to our university and help our children in our schools.”

The group hopes to learn about four key areas during its visits to the schools on Friday: The data/assessments that we use; our teaching environment; classroom instruction and professional development.

They want to spend time in classrooms watching MCPSS teachers teach. And they want to know what MCPSS is doing to prepare its students for the workforce.

“You are truly going to be visiting some wonderful schools tomorrow,” Peek told the visitors as she and her staff explained the size and demographics of MCPSS. As the 65th largest school system in the country, Mobile County has 59,000 students in 90 schools and is the size of Rhode Island.

Through a translator, Mohr explained that we offer special education and intervention programs as well as advanced academic opportunities. She talked about our new Signature Academies in four of our high schools, and several of the visitors nodded with interest.

“We’re glad you’re here,” Mohr said.

The visitors – who visited the University of South Alabama this morning - asked questions about how our schools are broken down: elementary (preK-5), middle (6-8), and high (9-12). They admired the fact that many MCPSS administrators are women.

We enjoyed talking with and learning from them. Some interesting facts: 

  • Students in Thailand are in school 200 days a year, compared to Alabama students’ 180 days.
  • While the starting salary for teachers in Alabama is $38,000, teachers in Thailand make $400 a month.
  • Mobile County operates a fleet of about 700 buses. Thailand schools don’t have buses.

The educators from Thailand and Mobile County agreed on several key points, including that one of the biggest challenges today is being able to keep students engaged in their learning in this fast-paced world. Another is finding and keeping science and math teachers.

From here, the group plans to visit schools in North Carolina and West Virginia. They are going to Harvard University and Washington, D.C.


Comments on "Educators from Thailand visit MCPSS, learn about our schools"

4/8/2014 11:05:08 AM CST

1. Ann Crumpton said...

The group of Thai educators also visited Clark-Shaw Magnet Middle School where they seemed very interested in our science and engineering programs.  They toured the school, visited classrooms and talked with students, teachers and administrators.

4/5/2014 9:15:58 AM CST

2. Phoonchai Yawirach ,Ph.D. said...

Thank you so much to Superintendent for hospitality welcome.
We wish to see you later in Thailand .

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