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FWPS details cost of global trips for officials; Chinese education delegation visits

On Aug. 1, Thomas Jefferson High School International Baccalaureate Teacher Carol Lee and members of the Chinese delegation explain to students taking a summertime French class that Chinese students typically begin studying English in the primary grades. - Courtesy of Deb Stenberg/Federal Way Public Schools
On Aug. 1, Thomas Jefferson High School International Baccalaureate Teacher Carol Lee and members of the Chinese delegation explain to students taking a summertime French class that Chinese students typically begin studying English in the primary grades.
— image credit: Courtesy of Deb Stenberg/Federal Way Public Schools

Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS) provided data on a number of recent global trips taken by various FWPS officials, most notably an extensive trip to China that ran from April 10 through May 1 earlier this year.

According to the district, the trip led to a visit last week from a Chinese education delegation, which toured two Federal Way schools on Aug. 1.

As a result of conversations with Dr. Yong Zhao of the University of Oregon, and in conduction with the University of Oregon's "Global Education Institute," the China trip was coordinated through the University of Oregon, said Sally McLean, FWPS Assistant Superintendent of Business Services. The University of Oregon was responsible for establishing the visitation sites, reserving hotels, booking interpreters and most ground transportation, she said.

McLean noted the district paid the university $24,000 for that work, which included "the expenses of an UO staff member and an interpreter," and that the total cost for the trip was $33,350.72.

Along with this, the district's two attendees, Superintendent Rob Neu and Federal Way School Board President Tony Moore, were given a Meals and Incidental Expenses per diem (daily allowance) "based on the rates published by the U.S. Department of State."

According to information on the Department of State's website, the per diem rate for a trip to China averages between approximately $150 to $300, depending on the location.

Neu also took a trip to Indonesia earlier this summer, from June 20 to July 3. According to McLean, the total cost of this trip was $4,082.97. Neu noted in an earlier interview that he had paid approximately $1,400 for hotel costs during that trip, and McLean confirmed that the superintendent did cover his lodging costs for the Indonesia trip.

Neu also took a short trip to South Korea from July 6 to July 12. As he noted at the July 23 FWPS board meeting, the majority of the costs for that trip were paid for by the government of South Korea. McLean noted the total cost of this trip to the district was $679.12.

"All costs are part of the district's General Fund," McLean said.

(Pictured: Sinuo Wang, a Chinese student who is planning to come to the U.S. for her high school education. In this photo taken Aug. 1, Thomas Jefferson High School student Angela Chen, and Ms. Dongni Meng, vice principal of the Northeast Yucai Experimental School in Beijing, look up a translation on a smartphone.)

First Chinese education delegation in Federal Way

The Northeast Yucai Experimental School in Beijing is one of the schools visited by Superintendent Rob Neu and Federal Way School Board President Tony Moore last spring.

On Thursday, a leaders from that school were among a Chinese delegation that toured the Technology Access Foundation (TAF) Academy and Thomas Jefferson High School. District spokeswoman Deb Stenberg said it was the first Chinese education delegation to visit Federal Way.

"They are here as a result of (Moore and Neu's) trip to China to learn about our schools and to explore possible exchange learning opportunities," Stenberg wrote in an email to The Mirror.

Among the visitors was Sinuo Wang, a Chinese student who is planning to come to the U.S. for her high school education.

(Pictured: In a photo taken Aug. 1, Ms. Dongni Meng, vice principal of the Northeast Yucai Experimental School in Beijing, shares the meaning of ancient Chinese characters on bookmarks made by NYEC students with Todd Beamer High School Principal Randy Kaczor.)

 

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