P. O. BOX 2120
February 26, 1999


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Russian Teacher Exchange Program
The Virginia Department of Education and the American 
Academic & Cultural Exchange announce the 1999-2000 
Russian Teacher Exchange Program.  This program offers 
teachers and administrators a unique opportunity to 
exchange professional and personal views with Russian 
teachers and educators in the Moscow region.   Besides 
school visits, the participants tour cultural sites, hold 
private meetings with key administrative officials, and 
live with a Russian educator.  The purpose of the program 
is to promote professional development by sharing 
teaching experiences with colleagues from a very 
different educational system.  The program also provides 
teachers with unique insights into the educational issues 
faced by contemporary Russia.  Such insights and the 
wealth of knowledge obtained through the exchange will 
allow participating educators to return to Virginia's  school
divisions with new approaches to teaching a  demanding curricula.

Selected applicants must agree to host a Russian educator 
for ten days in April 2000.  Participants are expected to 
provide their Russian counterpart with a reciprocal 
educational experience in their local school divisions.  
Participants also are expected to provide meals, lodging, 
transportation, and limited sightseeing for their Russian 
colleagues.  The purpose of this ten-day exchange is to 
give Virginia students and educators an opportunity to 
learn about a different country and culture.  In 
addition, Russian educators will become acquainted with 
American schools and cultural sites.

The Virginia program is tentatively scheduled to leave 
the United States on October 13, 1999, and return on 
October 22, 1999.  Twelve teachers or administrators will 
be selected to travel as representatives of the 
Commonwealth of Virginia.  Applicants must complete an 
application form to be eligible for the exchange program. 

Applicants must obtain permission to participate in this 
program from their school divisions.   Announcements of 
the exchange program and application forms will be mailed 
to all history and social science contact persons.  All 
finalists must be available for an interview to be 
scheduled in the applicant's school division during May  1999.
Selected participants must agree to attend two one-day 
training seminars in Richmond before the departure date. 
The seminars provide orientation and background materials 
for the trip.  The costs to participants will be 
approximately $1,350 per person.  This cost may vary 
slightly because negotiations for airfare have not been 
completed.  The cost also includes the approximate amount 
it will cost participants to host a Russian educator in 

Thank you for your support of the teacher exchange 
program.  If you have questions regarding this program, 
please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Beverly Thurston, 
Specialist for History and Social Sciences, at (804) 225-