Offering area educators and students unprecedented access to China is important for the future, said Sharkey.
"Chinese is considered a critical language by the U.S. government and for that reason we've received federal funding from two grants for this. I think that we all know the importance of China on multiple fronts in the 21st century and so it's important for our students to do more with this language and culture," said Sharkey.
Sharing ideas and instructional practices has already begun, even without an official cultural program in place. Sharkey said Chinese educators who visited seven area school districts were very interested in how students and teachers interacted.
"On their side, the Chinese government has a new educational initiative and they're interested in individualizing instruction and learning more about the student-centered instruction and that's what impressed them when they visited our classrooms," said Sharkey.
As a new member of the Confucius Classrooms Network, BOCES is now one of 60 U.S. school who are linked to 60 partner schools in China in both urban, rural and suburban landscapes, either public, charter or independent in type and elementary, middle school and high schools.
For more information about Project Chinese and BOCES visit www.wswheboces.org and for more information about the Confucius Classrooms Network visit www.asiasociety.org.