Ohayou gozaimasu. Konnichiwa. Konbanwa. Oyasumi nasai.
These are all ways to say hello in Japanese. On Feb. 18, Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) said Konnichiwa to more than 30 Japanese education students as part of the school system’s partnership with Bunkyo University. During a two-week visit to Charles County, Japanese student teachers will visit numerous schools and the University of Maryland, College Park to learn about American education training programs.
While in Charles County, Bunkyo students will participate in practice lessons with CCPS students at several schools including Mary H. Matula, Malcolm, William A. Diggs, Arthur Middleton, C. Paul Barnhart, Gale-Bailey, J.C. Parks and Dr. James Craik elementary schools, and Milton M. Somers and Mattawoman middle schools. The lessons will feature content about Japanese history, how Tokyo has changed in the past 200 years and demonstrations of three different Japanese writing styles.
At the end of their stay, Bunkyo students will host a Sayonara party on Feb. 26 at North Point High School. The students will introduce school officials and members of their host families to traditional Japanese dances, songs and examples of Japanese fashion. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kimberly Hill said the school system’s partnership with Bunkyo University is a learning experience for both CCPS and Bunkyo students.
“Each school year, Charles County Public Schools welcomes aspiring teachers from Bunkyo University to obtain hands-on educational experiences in our classrooms. This longstanding partnership benefits our students as well as the aspiring teachers from Japan. Our students have the opportunity to learn about Japanese cultural and social traditions, while the Bunkyo students learn about American schools. This valuable exchange of cultures is something that we look forward to each year,” Hill said.
Bunkyo University is a private university located in downtown Tokyo that mainly offers teacher education. The school system has participated in the partnership with Bunkyo since 1987, when the program was organized and hosted by the University of Maryland. CCPS began hosting the program in 1992. Hotel accommodations are arranged for the first week of the visit, and students stay with volunteer host families in Charles County during the second week.
Each year, approximately 30 students from Bunkyo University, along with two professors, visit Charles County. The partnership is intended to provide the Japanese students the opportunity to learn about the American school system, to compare Japanese and American education, to experience American family life and practice speaking English.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,500 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.