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Wauwatosa teachers teach in China as District explores international exchange partnership

August 2, 2019 


The Wauwatosa School District is excited to explore a new potential student and teacher international exchange program with a Chinese international schools organization, Wisconsin Schools Alliance. 


Wauwatosa would be the first public school to offer such a program in our area.  


The District was able to participate in its first collaboration with the Chinese organization this summer.


Ellen Crowley, an East High School Culinary Arts Teacher, and Laura Nemitz, a Whitman Middle School Spanish Teacher, traveled to Jiangsu, China for three weeks in July to teach a summer program at Zhangjiagang Lianfeng International School. 


WSD teachers Ellen Crowley and Laura Nemitz


The teachers joined other American teachers from across the country for the program. In addition to teaching, they collaborated and shared teaching strategies with the Chinese teachers and toured the area. 


“It was an invaluable experience as a teacher to work with students in China,” said Crowley. “The teachers, families, and students of Zhangjiagang Lianfeng International School were extremely hospitable to all the American teachers throughout our entire trip. I would highly recommend this experience to any teacher interested in attending next summer or in the near future.”


More than 20 teachers applied for the opportunity through the District but the program only had spots for two Wauwatosa teachers this year. 


The effort to foster the partnership with Wisconsin Schools Alliance is aligned with the District’s Strategic Plan and a core objective to build community relationships to benefit students, including those that allow our students to interact with and learn about other cultures and countries in the global community. 


The District’s next partnership with the Chinese schools organization will involve hosting 60 fifth-grade and middle school-aged Chinese students for a two-week visit this fall. 


From September 23 - October 4, 2019, the Chinese students will visit Wauwatosa and participate in classes at Lincoln Elementary, Longfellow Middle School, and Whitman Middle School. 


The Chinese students will be coming from our Wauwatosa schools’ sister schools: Nanjing Jinling Huin Primary School, Shanghai DongTan School and Shanghai Experimental Middle School. 


“If we can provide our students with direct, authentic interactions with their Chinese school counterparts, we know that this partnership could equally benefit both the Chinese students and Wauwatosa students,” said Tom Hanley, China Exchange Coordinator, who has been working over the past year on behalf of the Wauwatosa School District to build the relationship with the Chinese schools organization. 

Parents who might be interested in chaperoning for a weekend homestay for pairs of visiting students in fall, or getting involved with any of our China efforts, are encouraged to contact Tom Hanley at