• A Day in the Life of a Chinese High School Student

    Posted by Melissa Woodard on 11/14/2015


    As shared by a high school student who gave me a tour of her high school:




    5:50 am - Get up

    6:10 - 6:40 am - Breakfast

    7:00 - 7:35 am - Morning Reading

    7:40 - 8:20 am - Period 1

    8:30- 9:10 am - Period 2

    9:20 - 10:00 am - Period 3

    10:00 - 10:30 am - Eye Protection Exercises

    10:30 - 11:10 am - Period 4

    11:20 - 12:00 pm - Period 5

    12:00 - 12:30 pm - Lunch

    12;50 - 1:50 pm -  Lunch Break

    2:10 - 2:30 pm -  Reading Time

    2:30 - 3:10 pm - Period 6

    3:20 - 4:00 pm - Period 7

    4:10 - 5:10 pm - Study Hall

    5:20 - 6:10 pm - Study Hall (Tuesday and Thursday - activities)

    6:10 - 6:40 pm - Dinner

    6:50 - 7:10 pm - Reading Time

    7:10 - 17:50 pm - Study Hall 1

    8:00 - 8:50 pm - Study Hall 2

    9:00 - 9:50 pm - Study Hall 3

    10:00 pm - Classroom Lights Out

    10:30 pm - Dorm Lights Out


    **Most students remain awake to study until after midnight and then repeat the schedule the next day.

    Some students I spoke with live on the campus while others bike or ride public transportation to and from school. Still, when they return home, they must study for an additional one to two hours to keep up with their studies.


    I thought this was an interesting glimpse into the lives of Chinese high school students.


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  • An Amazing Visit to Zhengzhou Zheng Dong Xin Qu Foreign Language School

    Posted by Melissa Woodard on 11/12/2015


    Ni hao! (Hello!)

    It is difficult to describe the energy and enthusiasm that greeted us on Thursday morning as we arrived to the Zhengzhou Zheng Dong Xin Qu Foreign Language School. Immediately as we disembarked the bus, the principal and some teachers welcomed us to the campus. As we were escorted on the outside paths by the expansive buildings on our way to the auditorium for the welcoming ceremony, we were astounded to hear and see students waving and cheering at the windows of their classrooms and hallways. I am not sure I have ever experienced a welcome as incredible as this...it brought tears to my eyes and goosebumps on my arms. The school serves well over 1000 students in grades 1-9 and truly educates with the whole child in mind. Artwork produced by students was proudly displayed. We were entertained by a dance group as well as students performing solos on ancient Chinese instruments. They also delighted us with a dramatic scene from The Sound of Music. Prior to visiting classrooms, students marched onto the large outdoor field and performed their daily drills featuring exercises from the region's specialization of Shaolin Kung Fu. It was incredible to observe teachers and students alike engaged in this "Brain Break"!

    Once I am able to access the photos I have taken, I will add them to the blog. Pictures will show how truly special this experience was...so much more than I can describe in words!

    More highlights to come!!



    Melissa L. Woodard



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  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles (and Busses too)!

    Posted by Melissa Woodard on 11/11/2015

    The trip to China was long but, fortunately, an uneventful plane ride! For the first time ever, I rode in a plane with two floors --- a double-decker! Of course, I didn't have the chance to see the top floor because I think that was 1st class! I was able to get to sleep on Tuesday night to prepare for my participation in meetings that were held Wednesday morning with Confucius Institute and College Board representatives. Some interesting facts about Chinese education were shared. Did you know that in China there are only nine years of compulsory education for students? They must attend schooling from ages 6-15. At that point, (at the conclusion of ninth grade), students must take Admission Examinations to Senior Secondary Schools. All subject areas are tested, including Chinese, Mathematics, History, Sciences (Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Geography), and a foreign language (English, Japanese, Russian or German). Based on test scores, students are admitted to one of the three types of senior secondary schools:

    General/key senior secondary schools - Students study Chinese, Mathematics, Sciences, a foreign language, Chinese and World History, World Geography, and some arts for college preparation.

    Vocational senior secondary schools - Students study Chinese, Mathematics, a foreign language, and vocational skills such as Tourism, Office Operations, and Mechanics.

    Specialized senior secondary schools - Students study Chinese, Mathematics, a foreign language, and specialized skills such as Accounting and Office Management.

    More information about education in China to follow!


    Following lunch, I boarded a high-speed "bullet" railway on my way to Henan province in Central China. The train ride was amazingly smooth and reached speeds as high as 301 km/hr! I challenge you to equate that to miles per hour. Provided the weather is favorable, our return trip to Beijing via the high-speed railway should reach about 350 km/hr!!


    Some of my internet issues have appeared to have been rectified. Hoping to post more tomorrow!!


    Zaijian! (goodbye)

    Melissa Woodard


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  • Pre Departure - 2015 Chinese Bridge Delegation

    Posted by Melissa Woodard on 11/5/2015

    Hello BASD Community,
    It is with great excitement to announce that I have been selected to join the 2015 Chinese Bridge Delegation, a weeklong educational program in China from November 9-18, 2015. As a delegate, I will have an outstanding opportunity to deepen my understanding of China, share best practices, and build partnerships with Chinese schools. This program is sponsored by Confucius Institute Headquarters/Hanban and the College Board.

    Throughout this experience , I look forward to visiting the country's capital of Beijing and then traveling southward to the province of Henan where I will visit K-12 schools, colleges and universities. My goal is to keep the BASD community informed of my learning and allow you to share in these experiences virtually. Please click on this link as I will do my best to post several entries during my time in China. Please understand that internet access may prove to be challenging in some remote areas but I will do the best I can to keep you abreast of my activities!


    Chengzhi, (Sincerely)


    Melissa L. Woodard, Ed.D.

    Chief Academic Officer

    Boyertown Area School District


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