Written by Phoutsavad Vongphachan, Lao PDR.
I feel like I have been really lucky that last two weeks. I have had a very good opportunity to visit many cities in the U.S. and learned about education system in the U.S. First, I went to the 2014 International Immersion Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. I learned about and began to develop understanding about how language immersion programs are effective for building literacy skills and how to begin and create, as well as improve a language immersion program.
Then I went to Montana Office of Public Instruction in Helena for 3 days. It’s also wonderful time here (Deb Halliday, I am very appreciative and want to express my thanks to you for very delicious dinner and sharing and take care), Mandy Smoker Broaddus (Indian Education), Donnie Wetzel (American Indian Youth Development coordinator) you are hero for children and Sarah Pierce, Sarah Pierce I love you thanks for make me always smile and thanks for your wonderful idea ‘Share mini peeled carrots with other people for dinner at Deb Halliday’s house). I appreciative on “In Montana, we believe it is our obligation to work with our communities, families and students that are in greatest need. We have a constitutional obligation to ensure that all students have access to a high quality education. I work on building relationships to share cultures between various entities on American Indian reservations and our state. I work to develop strengths within our American Indian Youth through life skill development, goal setting and increasing skills for them to better express their views). Thank you all for sharing about your work and spend your value times for me (OPI).
Missoula County Public Schools (MCPSP) and Dr. Heather Davis Schmidt provided me with more knowledge and experience. I have learned a lot from the public school system in Missoula and it is my pleasure to be here with you. Fellowship coordinator, Dr. Schmidt, and the staff at MCPS work to develop the education system in Missoula public schools to build better schools for the community: “Strong schools are among the key drivers in attracting economic development.” Moreover, Dr. Schmidt works closely with school principals, teachers, and support staff. MCPS has a five year strategic plan, called Achievement for All, which incorporates the number one goal of the district in all areas of the organization: “Achievement and graduation for all students, regardless of circumstances.”
Kelly Chumrau, Principal at Paxson Elementary School in Missoula helped me to understand more about the dual language immersion program and see a dual language immersion program in action in grades kindergarten, first, and second. At Paxson Elementary, students learn core content in math, reading, and writing in both Spanish and English. Other content such as science, social studies, music, health, physical activity, and art are also infused in the program. Paxson provided me a very good learning experience as I think about ways to increase teaching and learning outcomes for ethnic minority students in Laos.
From the great experience and knowledge that I have gained while here, my fellowship coordinator and I created an action plan to apply some activities in Laos to help further develop the education system in Laos. I am really happy and hopeful to host my fellowship coordinator for a week in March-April, 2015. Welcome to Laos Dr Heather, I hope you will enjoy your time there and I hope we can work together to help to develop the education system in Laos. Dr Heather, I want to express my thanks for your kindness and your supportive and warm hospitality during the time I am here in Montana.
Again, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center and all of the program partners, I want to express my thanks for your support and for having me here. Deena, thank you very much for a welcome back dinner tonight. Adam, we are happy to see you and thank you very much for come here to see us.