Since 2014 Norton Public Schools (NPS) has been hosting international students in both short stay and full year exchanges from countries such as Austria, Brazil, China, Japan, and Mexico. Students from China have come for both short stays (up to two weeks) at the Henri A. Yelle Elementary School, Norton Middle School, and Norton High School (NHS). The students have completed full year exchanges at Norton High School.
This program was introduced to NPS under the direction of Superintendent of Schools, Joseph F. Baeta. The goal was to help with establishing and supporting the new Global Education Program at Norton High School, create a global community for Norton High School student to consider being part of, and set a tuition charge per international student to create a revenue source that would not require local taxpayer funding.
This past year NPS worked with BostonWise, a Chinese cultural exchange organization, to establish the 2+1 program for Chinese students from the Shijiazhuang International School in Shijiazhuang, China. The program consists of students in China having access in Grades 10-11 to the NHS curriculum, with specific attention to English. This will then create a direct line to Grade 12 at NHS. Students must pass their classes, complete an English assessment, and undergo a transcripts review and interview. Mr. Vincent Cerce, Director of Counseling and Social Emotional Learning at NHS, is the lead person for this project and recently traveled to China along with Superintendent Baeta, Dr. Todd Kefor, Academic Coordinator/English Teacher, Ms. Lauren Bukowski, Academic Coordinator/Science Teacher, and Ms. Jennifer Tonelli, Global Certificate and Club Advisor/English Teacher.
This delegation from Norton went to Beijing and Shijiazhuang, China to complete the 2+1 agreement, visit various schools, exchange best practices with Chinese teachers, engage in cross cultural exchanges, and participate in the K-12 GERA International Conference. The trip was paid for via the international tuition line from previous years' tuitions and no local or state funds were utilized.
Beginning in 2021, Norton High School will begin hosting anywhere from one to ten international students from China as part of this 2+1 program. Norton also continues to host students from other nations. Currently Norton High School has a student from Mexico completing their senior year."Social and cross cultural skill development are at the core of the Norton Public Schools Portrait of a Graduate," said Superintendent Baeta. "As our students engage with diversity they are doing so via numerous opportunities. The 2+1 program is one such endeavor."