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Educator from China chosen to spend year in Willmar

WILLMAR -- A teacher from Harbin, China, will work at Willmar Senior High for the coming school year. A grant from the U.S. State Department will pay for Bai Jinguo's year in Willmar. The school district learned of the grant at the end of the las...

Bai Jinguo

WILLMAR -- A teacher from Harbin, China, will work at Willmar Senior High for the coming school year.

A grant from the U.S. State Department will pay for Bai Jinguo's year in Willmar.

The school district learned of the grant at the end of the last school year.

Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard told the Willmar School Board about Bai at its Monday meeting.

Bai will work with Willmar's Chinese teacher Todd Lynum in the district's growing Mandarin Chinese program. He will arrive in Willmar in August.

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Bai is an award-winning English teacher in Harbin, a city of 5 million in northeastern China.

Harbin is at the same latitude as St. Cloud, according to information provided to the school district. A PowerPoint presentation includes photos of snow-covered streets and photos of huge ice sculptures, snow sculptures and ice castles.

"It's not going to be a huge shock to his system moving here," Kjergaard said. "We're looking forward to having him."

According to the information provided by the Teachers of Critical Languages Program, Bai has a bachelor's degree in English and has taught English at Harbin Senior Middle School since 2003. He has published four books and has won prizes for his English teaching and tutoring, including the Excellent English Teaching Award six times since 2004.

Bai has experience working with American and British secondary students. He served as chief facilitator for a group of AFS students from Minneapolis in 2005.

Willmar is one of 10 high schools in the nation and the only school in the upper Midwest to receive a grant to host a native-speaking teacher from China this year.

In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: lvanderwerf@wctrib.com or phone 320-214-4340
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