NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Representatives from the town and school district of Berezhany in the Ukraine spent this week in the City School District of New Rochelle. The visitors were here to tour the district's schools and gain an understanding of U.S. teaching methods and curriculums.
Iaroslava Senyshyn, English language teacher, Halyna Mykhalchuk, director of the Department of Education, and Oleh Venchur, Berezhany mayor/councilman, will return to Berezhany with plans to improve their students' education and help rebuild their struggling schools.
The visitors were most impressed with teachers' organization and preparation for daily lessons and how they coordinate the curriculum across grade levels. They also liked how senior-level teachers mentor other teachers.
Senyshyn appreciated how educators at Trinity found ways to make learning meaningful to their students' lives. "We just tell students they have to memorize statistics, and that's all," she said. "Here, you explain to them what they need the information for."
On Monday night, the Ukrainian representatives attended a PTA meeting where they learned how the school partners with parents to plan school activities. Parents are rarely involved in their children's education in Berezhany. Many have to leave their families for extended periods of time to work in Europe.
The idea of the trip originated after Trinity Assistant Principal Inas Morsi-Hogans met Yuriy Boykiv, a philanthropist who collaborates with the McCain Institute. The institute is dedicated to advancing character-driven global leadership through security, economic opportunity, freedom and human dignity. Boykiv wanted to send Morsi-Hogans and Trinity Principal Anthony DiCarlo to Berezhany but Morsi-Hogans suggested it may be better for Berezhany representatives to come to New Rochelle Schools and immerse themselves in U.S. education for a week.