P.S. 34 played host to Poland’s Minister of National Education, Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowska, as part of her four-day trip to the United States to get better acquainted with the schools in this country.
The focus of her trip, an assembly of Polish-American teachers taking place over the weekend in New Jersey, is a means for the minister to get feedback on Polish language schools in the States, and to study American practices of education and how they might be implemented in Poland.
P.S. 34 was Kluzik-Rostkowska’s first stop on her trip before visiting Polish language schools in Greenpoint.
“In Poland we are currently focusing on adjusting and improving our education system in regards to the demand of the Internet age,” said Kluzik-Rostkowska, with the help of a translator. “We want our students not to focus solely on academics but also to understand how to deal with different cultures and how to problem solve.”
On Thursday morning, Kluzik-Rostkowska gathered along with her associates in the principal’s room at P.S. 34.
Over coffee, bagels and Polish pastries, P.S. 34’s Principal, Carmen Asselta, discussed the various ways the school was preparing students for the challenges of the tech-savvy, hyper-competitive outside world.
“We are now dealing not just with a national economy but a global economy and we have to prepare our students to take on those challenges,” said Asselta to the delegation. “We try to pose challenges to our students in many different ways – how to work in teams, how to work creatively and how to work with the available resources.”
Both the officials at P.S. 34 and the Polish delegation expressed a desire for their schools to go digital – equipping students with iPads or e-books to create more of an interactive environment for learning.
The Polish delegation was escorted around the building by the principal. Kluzik-Rostkowska walked through each of the classrooms and posed questions to the students in Polish – many of whom responded excitedly to her inquiries.
The tour complete, the Polish delegation was treated to a performance of the P.S. 34 Chorus, before they set off on a whirlwind tour of local Polish language schools.