2019/10/01

Fulbrightista v USA: Jak najít školu pro své děti?

Sdílíme článek naší absolventky Hany Kolesové


















Your kids will probably go to public schools, which are free of charge(unlike private schools, where you need to pay tuition). 
There are huge differences in quality of public schools in the USA in various town districts or towns. 
If having kids, living (renting a house or appartment) in good school district is beside the commuting distance to work main important thing to consider. For you similarly as for the US citizens this is the main criteria for finding a rental place, so school rating and school boundaries are oftern link together on the home rental websites. 
Every public school in USA is rated from 1-10 (10 highest) score. The scores are saying how good is the school in particular state. The score reflects the scores in read, math and science, but it also reflects how the students are making progress and how the school is able to incorporate various needs of students (with english as a foreign language this is going to be your child as well).
All informations about all schools is possible to find at:
you can also find there race overview of the students attending the school (which also tells you a lot about the population in particular school district), boys-girls ration, teachers and general info about the school and after school activities. (We have spend a year in US with primary school kids and as the school is ending at 3-4pm kids were pretty tired to do any afterschool activity, even in CZ they have plenty. Lot of the activities are included in normal school curicullum - for our school instrument playing etc.)
Finding a good school district means spend many hours browsing the web, but it is really really worth it. 
Other similar aggregator of school rating is 
From our experience school rating really reflects the overall quality of the school. There is big difference between school rated 10-8 or 3. 
When looking for a home or apartment, both Zillow (even with the map of the school district boundaries) 
and Realtor show you rating of schools in the area. The information are not always 100% accurate, but are enough to get the idea. If on border, one side of the street can belong to one and second to the other school district with very different school rating. 
Generally speaking, based on where you live, your kids can go only to schools in that particular school district. In general, school district is the same as the city where you live. However it is always better to check with local school district which school your chosen home belongs to, before you sign the rental contract.
In some school districts parents can ask any school to take their children. Again, check with your School District Office.
Kids would walk to school or school bus will be stopping in front of your house or appartment house to pick up your kids, so there is usually no need to drive your kid to school. 
School offer for primary school kids Before and After Care (for extra fee) before and after the school. Than you need to pick up your kid at school from it. Also from after school activities, even organised at school you need to pick up your child. 
As your child is probably not fluent in english, he or she will need to attend extra English classes (English as a Foreign Language - ESL classes) as a part of his/her everyday school day. Many schools offers ESL in the same building but not all, in this case your child would need to transfer for ESL to other school. School automaticaly assign ESL classes for the children, with no additional costs. Just another thing to consider when choosing a school, if the school is providing ESL and if your child would need to travel for it. 
We have chosen a school with rating 10-8 little bit farther from work and we were really really glad that we did.

2019/08/29

Jak si sbalit kufry na 10 měsíců na jiném kontinentu?


Přečtěte si příspěvek naší ETA (english teacher assistant) Courtney, která se balila na svůj roční pobyt v Českém Těšíně!

Hello! Or in Czech, Dobrý den! I am happy to share that I have arrived safely in my new home for the next 10 months, Český Těšín, Czech Republic. I am currently writing at a little table in my apartment overlooking the garden and several colorful houses in the neighborhood after spending the afternoon exploring the Polish side of town.
Since Český Těšín is located quite far from Prague (about a 4 hour train ride), I decided that it would be best to pack in one large suitcase and carry-ons. After learning the hard way at London Heathrow during my semester in England that lugging two big suitcases is exhausting, I knew that it would be better to pack light and buy things in the Czech Republic if needed. 
My biggest piece of packing advice is to lay out everything that you want to pack in one central area. I set up a folding table and in the two weeks prior to my departure, I began to lay out items. Using this method helped me both to determine what I still needed to pack or purchase and where I could cut back.
When packing for the trip, I chose to pack lighter in categories of items that I knew would be relatively inexpensive and easy to purchase once I arrived (toiletries, shirts, decor, etc). I was more strategic with things that are either expensive or fit in a specific manner (think jeans, electronics, coats!) 
The packing master (my mom!) helping me roll clothes

Luggage

For luggage I brought one large suitcase, which ended up weighing in at 49 pounds, one large backpack to put in the overhead compartment on the flight, and a black tote bag for my personal item that I plan to use as my work bag here in the Czech Republic. 
I packed the heaviest items like shoes and sweaters in this backpack so that my suitcase would not go over the weight limit! 

Carry-on items

From left to right: Laptop, important documents, small lock, water bottle, camera, portable charger, computer charger, kindle, airpods, regular headphones, snack pouch, various chargers, journal and pens, tic tacs, chapstick, money belt, passport + cover 
Small purse and wallet 

Tops

4 graphic t-shirts for working out, sleeping, traveling
3 workout shirts – one short sleeve, two tank tops
2 plain short-sleeve tops
Three long-sleeve layering tops (navy, dark green, black)
6 blouses (1 did not make the photo) 
2 cardigans
4 dresses that all can be paired with tights in the colder months 

Pants and shorts 

Black jeans, blue jeans, black work pants, navy work pants
3 pairs of workout leggings 
Sweatpants, pajama set, tights, spandex shorts
Two pairs of shorts

Shoes

Flip flops, sandals, black booties, workout shoes, sneakers, work shoes

Winter gear 

6 sweaters of various weights 
3 scarves
3 pairs of gloves, 1 hat, 1 umbrella
4 jackets: Medium weight coat, rain jacket, winter/cold rain jacket, light jacket

Random 

1 swimsuit 
Small daypack and travel towel 
Pillow case (not the pillow), sleep mask, pillow pet
Mesh laundry bag
Small jewelry pouches with versatile jewelry 
Thank you for reading and for supporting my new Fulbright adventure! If you’d like to continue to hear about my Fulbright adventures, please follow me on WordPress or like my Facebook page, @CourtneyTasteTravelTeach where I’ll be posting photos and sharing my blog posts! Soon, I’ll be posting more about my first impressions of my town and about Fulbright training in Brno, Czech Republic. 
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This post is not an official Department of State publication. The views and information presented are my own and do not represent the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the Department of State, the Fulbright Commission, or the host country.

2019/02/15


Fulbright for Posterity: The Ripple Effects of Fulbright on Rural America

by Niecea Freeman, English Teaching Assistant at the Agriculture and Veterinary High School in Lanskroun, Czech Republic

“How about: It’s quality, not quantity?” my dad proposed, wearing a grin. We were brainstorming city slogans for Loyalton, California, my hometown of 800 people nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains—now named “the Loneliest Town in America.” We all laughed. On the surface, country living seems like paradise, but in reality a myriad of issues affect rural communities across the nation. Employment opportunities are sparse, lower income leads to higher instances of poverty, and—consequently—there is a clear demand and absolute need for higher quality education.

Megan Meschery and her family in Spain, 2008 
When the town’s sawmill closed in 2001, followed by a mass population exodus, Loyalton’s tax revenues declined rapidly and ancillary school programming disappeared with them. First, we lost music and art specials. Later, our middle school was condemned, and students were moved from portable buildings into the high school, losing their separate facilities entirely. In truth, it has only been through the extraordinary efforts of dedicated teachers and community members that our school district has been kept afloat: teachers like my high school Spanish instructor, Megan Meschery, who are determined to redefine our local community without much funding from state or federal agencies.

In 2008, Megan left for a Fulbright grant in Granada, Spain, where she examined how rural economic development funding provided by the European Union reduced inequalities in public schools regardless of geographic location. She sought to find parallels and lessons applicable to rural education in America and to develop ways to promote cultural awareness and growth in Loyalton. While Megan’s experiences rather highlighted the differences between U.S. and EU development models, Megan also returned from her two-year Fulbright burgeoning with ideas tailored to Loyalton’s situation, and immediately found ways to introduce positive change, starting with school electives.My favorite memories from high school are from the culture club she initiated, through which I saw my first Broadway play, Wicked, and visited my first classical art exhibit, featuring masterpieces from Rembrandt and Raphael. These experiences opened my eyes to the world beyond our tiny valley, and change did not stop there.

The Sierra Schools Foundation sponsors hands-on learning opportunities like harvesting chamomile tea flowers in the Loyalton Learning Garden.
The following year, Megan founded a non-profit organization called The Sierra Schools Foundation (SSF – sierraschoolsfoundation.org) to combat inequality in the school district by providing grants for resources and programs such as the STEM Learning Garden, Local-Artists-in-the-School, Advancing to College SAT prep, and others. I volunteered with SSF throughout college, running fundraisers, where I witnessed firsthand how, with dedication and perseverance, local organizations genuinely have power to initiate positive change.

Niecea (right) and her mentor Martina in Lanškroun, Czech Republic.
These formative experiences propelled me to apply for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in the Czech Republic for the 2018-2019 academic year, where I will be living in a rural community not unlike Loyalton, teaching English to secondary students enrolled in veterinary and agricultural programs. As an undergrad, I pursued a B.S. in Integrated Elementary Education with an emphasis in English as a Second Language with the primary goal of becoming an elementary school teacher in a high-needs, rural community in the United States. Now, I am ready to go forward and learn from the students and families of my host country to explore new perspectives and pedagogies that will reshape the way I view myself and my role as an educator. The quantity of programs in Loyalton’s schools has stagnated, but the quality of our education can continue to blossom.