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+ Hays Free Press May 1,2013 DJ DACHSHUND Wieners mix it up at Buda CounTry Fair and Wiener Dog Races. - Page 1C Page 3B PHOTO BY KIM HILSENBECK Seven foreign exchange students at Hays CISD are enjoying their year abroad, despite the differences between their home countries and American culture. Seated (I-r) Chidchol Ousup, Thai- land, Eline Hermse, Netherlands, Gandace Duplan, France, and Valeria Dudin, Germany. Standing (I-r) dacopo Piantoni, Italy, Amalie Nielsen, Denmark and Cun-Si Chen ("Max"), Taiwan. BY KIM HILSENBECK kim@haysfreepress.com Eights months ago, a batch of foreign exchange students arrived in Kyte and Buda to get up close and personal with "the American experience." Three students attend Lehman High School while the other four are at Hays High School The seven came together last week at Hays High to share their thoughts about the exchange program, and about America, with the Hays Free Press. They hail from Italy; France, the Neth- erlands, Thailand, Denmark, Germany and Taiwan where they learned English in school. Most of the students said one reason they chose this country for their year abroad was to learn English by im- mersion. It must have worked because their mastery of the language was evident. The conversation was fluid, animated and easy, peppered with American ex- pressions, a heavy use of the word "like" and plenty of laughter. This group of students was multi-lin- gual. Back home, they learned languages such as Spanish, Latin, Korean, Japanese, Russian, German and Chinese. Nearly all of them speak at least two other languag- es beside their native tongue. Through the exchange program, the students could have selected several other countries - Australia, England and Canada among them. Yet this group wanted to come to the United States. For all of the students, the primary reason for selecting this country was to experience what it's like to live here. By and large, they were not disappointed. "I love the American high school life Another surprise was the dependence of the American lifestyle on cars to get everywhere and it has an impact on their ability to socialize, - the experience," said Amalie Nielsen from Denmark. "It's an adventure. Everybody is friendly," said lacopo Piantoni of Italy; Eline Hermse from the Netherlands fell in love withAmerica while here on vacation several years ago. She visited Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and New York City among other locations during her three week stay. "The people were so nice," she said. Cun-Si Chen of Taiwan goes by the nickname "Max." He said he wanted to come to the United States because of the cool factor. "When people think you went to America...they will think you are more cool. Everybody wants to be an ex- change student," he said. Yet most of the students were not expecting life to be so different from their home country. Several are from big cities - Rome, Stuttgart, Bangkok- and coming to Kyle and Buda was a cultural shock. "So many different things here - I didn't know it would be so different," said Chidchol Ousuo of Thaliand. Back in Bangkok, Chidchol went to an all-girl school, wore a uniform, and wasn't allowed to dye her hair or paint her nails. A quick look down at her nails showed them painted blue, indicating she took advantage of that part of the dress code. "I expected big cities not like Kyle," Jacopo said. "What you learn here you would never leam in a book. It shapes your per- sonality;" said Valeria Dudin of Germany. For Max, his host family was not what he pictured when he thought about living in America. His host family has young children, not teens. "The life I imagined is not the same," he said. And yes, a few times he's been asked to babysit. That also wasn't something he imagined of his adventure in the States. There have been a few little blips in going from their home countries to the States. Vaieria said her first shower in America was rough. "I could turn the water on but I couldn't make it warm," she said, laugh- ing at the memory. Another surprise was the dependence of the American lifestyle on cars to get everywhere and it has an impact on their ability to socialize. They all said their friends tend to be the people they go to class with, as opposed to people who live in their neighborhoods. "To meet up with people outside school is a whole different story," said Eline Hermse from the Netherlands. "I'm used to getting around everywhere on a bike. Here you need a car." "I miss the bus," Amalie said. "If you don't have a ride anywhere, you just can't go." The rest of the group nodded in agreement and commented on similar challenges, most saying they can get around easily by walking or biking or buses in their home countries. Food was another eye opener. Several students said their host families- an American family that takes in an ex- change student for the school year- eat out quite a bit, especiaUyAmalie and her housemate Valeria. The girls are in what's called a double placement at the same home. Their host family eats out sometimes five nights a week. Eating out in their native countrywas somewhat of a special occasion deal- a treat for most. Here, the students say restaurant meals are almost common- place. Several students said they have cooked culinary treats for their host family. Going to school in the United States, according to the students, is much easier than in their own countries. They commented on how different the school systems are, with all saying how Ameri- can high school is "way easier." Schools in their home countries have a lot more pressure. "It's so easy going here," said Amalie. "It's a very different school life. I took the TAKS test. It was so easy. In Germany we don't have multiple choice tests. You See CULTURAL EXCHANGE, pg. 4B years SUBMITTED REPORT After 39 years as an employee in public schools, Carolyn Hitt, assistant superintendent of human relations at Hays CISD, is calling it quits. The district announced her replacement, David Hartz, the associate superin- tendent for human resources for the Little Rock School District in Little Rock, Arkansas. Hitt began her career in education in 1973 as an English teacher at Munford High School in Tennessee. For 15 years, she worked in the classroom in high schools in Tennessee, Kentucky, Mis- souri and Texas. In the late 1980s, Car- olyn became the assistant principal of Crowley High School in Crowley, Texas. In the early 1990s, she was named aca- demic assistant principal at Mansfield High School and was honored as the 1994-95 Outstanding Assistant Princi- pal of the Year in Region XI. In 1995, she moved to Kyle and start- ed working in Hays CISD, where she has served in a number of leadership positions, including: assistant prin- cipal and dean of instruction at Hays High School, principal at Tom Green Elementary, director of communica- tions and community relations, and HITT HARTZ principal of Buda Elementary. In 2006, she was named Hays CISD executive director of human resources. The next school year, she served as interim as- sistant superintendent for human re- sources. In 2009, she was selected as the assistant superintendent for hu- man resources - her current position. Her career challenges and accom- plishments include the implementa- tion of Senate Bill 9 to ensure mass employee fingerprinting and process- ing of criminal history background checks; assisting employees through the budget crisis of 2011 and the ac- companying reduction in force (RIF), and providing leadership and sup- port to teachers, administrators and parents as Hays CISD has grown from a student population of 5,250 when she started in the district to more than 16,500 in 2013. Carolyn is excited about retirement from education saying she can then assume her full-time duties as grand- mother. "Carolyn is going to leave very diffi- cult shoes to fill," said Interim Superin- tendent Carter Scherff. "She has been the heart of Hays CISD for a number of years. We will miss her profession- alism, leadership, and compassion. At the same time, I am excited that David Hartz will be joining our team. He's a great matbh for our school district family and he'll help our district con- tinue to grow." Hitt will complete the school year be- fore retiring. No start date has been set for Hartz, but the hope is he will have some time to work simultaneously with Hitt to aid in a successful transition. DAVID HARTZ Hartz brings to Hays CISD a blend of human resources experience from school districts and institutions of higher education. His areas of ex- pertise include: engaged leadership, team building, budget management, training and staff development, ne- gotiations, budget management, and relationship building. He describes himself as highly organized, techno- logically engaged, and able to multi- task and clearly explain complex is- sues and ideas. David holds a Bachelor of Science in Education, a Master of Education, and an education specialist certification in public school administration, all from the University of Arkansas. His higher education work experience Includes more than a decade serving in senior positions at Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University), culminating in being named the director of resident life. In public education, he has served more than 14 years as the di- rector of human resources and person- nel evaluation for the Fayetteville School District in Arkansas and in his current position in Little Rock. An interesting fact - during his ca- reer in the early 1990s, David was selected as the first non-monk head- master of a college preparatory board- ing school administered by the Bene- dictine Monks. Hays CISD has nearly 2,300 employ- ees. ACC expands free college readiness program for adults Austin Community College is expanding its Transitions Program, an adult college preparation course. Transitions helps high school graduates and GED earners develop and reinforce skills in reading, writing, and math, so they can successfully complete freshman-level college courses. The free program also includes career counseling and guides students through the ACC admissions and financial aid processes. Funded through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Transitions program pays for Texas Higher Education Assessment exam fees and textbooks. Students who complete the program receive a $100 stipend; those who go on to complete an ACC credit course with a grade of C or better receive a $250 stipend and become eligible for a $1,000 ACC scholarship. The next 10-week Transitions courses begin May 28; classes will meet Monday through Thursday at Eastview Campus in Austin. Students can sign up for either the daytime class or the evening course. Students must be U.S. citizens and 18 or older, with a GED or high school diploma. Applicants must participate in a brief interview prior to enrolling and maintain a 75 percent attendance rate for the course. To sign up, contact Charlene Gill at (512) 223- 5122 or cgill@austincc.edu. Parents can now view CSOPE lessons As part of the ongoing mandate by the Texas legislature to increase transparency, the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative (TESCCC) is work)ng with its technology pfbvider to provide public access to CSCOPE lessons. The TESCCC started uploading lessons to a public website for viewing in April; they are the same lessons provided to districts. The only exceptions are materials used for grading, student assessment and answer keys. One caveat noted by TESCCC is that the public posting of CSCOPE lessons does not necessarily provide parents with the actual lesson content or instructional material being used in individual classrooms. Parents are encouraged to contact their child's teacher or school for information regarding specific content or material used in the classroom. The TESCCC is working with the State Board of Education for a review of Social Studies lessons, which will be based on the timeline set by the State Board of Education for the review. The link to see the CSOPE lessons is www.public. mycscope.us. Skateboard demonstration for people with disabilities Texas Ski Ranch will hold a free adaptive skateboard demonstration at 3 p.m. May 4 and an adaptive skateboard clinic 11-2 p.m. ($20 registration fee) May 5 in New Braunfels. Put on by the Therapeutic Recreation students of Texas State University, the event goal is to bring awareness to the community and allow individuals with disabilities to participate in skateboarding. Coaches Oscar Loreto, assisted by coaches Justin Beachesne and Jon Comer, will conduct the clinic and demonstration.