P. O. BOX 2120

March 31, 2000


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: JoLynne DeMary
Acting Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Russian Teacher Exchange Program

 The Virginia Department of Education and the American Academic & Cultural Exchange 
announce the 2000-2001 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 10 days in April 2001.
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 10-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.

Participants are tentatively scheduled to leave the United States on October 18, 
2000, and return on October 27, 2000.  Ten 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.   An announcement of the exchange program and an application form will be 
mailed to all principals in April.  All finalists must be available for an interview
to be scheduled during June 2000. 

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 includes the approximate amount it will cost participants to host a Russian 
educator in Virginia. 

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, social sciences, and international education at 
(804) 225-2893.