Newswise — Twenty Chinese principals will be in Nashville and at Vanderbilt University Oct. 28-Nov. 8 to learn the latest information about U.S. education policy and see American classrooms and techniques firsthand.

The program, Education Leadership Learning Exchange (ELLE), is the third year of a three-year partnership of Vanderbilt University's Peabody College and Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools with South China Normal University.

"Educational evaluation, teacher development and instructional planning are at the core of many of the principals' discussions. Seeing these topics through the cultural lens of each cohort yields deep and unique learning opportunities," Xiu Cravens, assistant dean for international affairs at Vanderbilt's Peabody College of education and human development, said. "The principals of each group have continued to capture both the successes of best practices and the ever-present challenges of educating young people of today."

During the two-week program, participants will visit area schools, hear lectures from Peabody education experts, shadow local teachers and get a taste of Music City through a variety of cultural activities including dinner at the Country Music Hall of Fame, attending a Predators game, dinner at the Adventure Science Center, a visit to the Frist Center, a celebration with the local Chinese community and much more.

Based on its success, the partnership has been extended for three more years.

"The new three-year agreement will focus on instructional leadership for school principals, especially in the areas of building a professional learning community and the enhancement of mathematics and science learning for K-12 students," Cravens said.

Since the partnership began in 2005, a group of Nashville school administrators and Peabody faculty have traveled twice to South China Normal University, located in the city of Guangzhou. Nashville-area participants are selected from the Principals' Leadership Academy of Nashville, a partnership among Vanderbilt, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and the Nashville Public Education Foundation.

"ELLE is unique among international programs for school leaders in its design. It is a learning exchange built on a platform of university-to-university collaboration for education practitioners with a strong support from the local public school board," Tom Ward, an ELLE program coordinator and lecturer in the Peabody Department of Leadership, Policy and Organizations, said. "This design makes it possible for us to construct a rigorous and coherent learning agenda for the two-week program that is aligned with the standards and goals of professional development training offered by Peabody College for principals of Metro Nashville Public Schools. The program provides an international prospective for leadership development through three key elements: lectures on learning-centered leadership by Peabody faculty, visits to Nashville schools and cultural engagements."

For more information about E.L.L.E., visit

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