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NKSD brings the Far East back West

POULSBO — Early next year, the North Kitsap School District will enhance its teaching of East Asia history and culture, and it won’t have to pay a dime to do it.

The district will host a series of seminars by the University of Washington’s East Asia Resource Center on five consecutive Saturdays, beginning Jan. 25.

The sessions will be hosted by Tese Wintz Neighbor, a college teacher of East Asian History and Culture for more than 12 years.

Neighbor lived in Beijing in the early 1980s and was an English teacher at Beijing University. She also worked as an editor for China Pictorial Magazine.

She also lived in Hong Kong and has a Master’s degree in China Regional Studies from the Henry Jackson School of International Studies at the UW.

Wally Lis, the North Kitsap School District’s director of curriculum, said the opportunity to host the seminars was too good to pass up.

“We teach this subject,” Lis said. “But we don’t teach it as specifically as she does. It’ll be a great resource for teachers. It won’t just be a textbook — it’ll be real-life learning and instruction.”

The seminars are open to teachers across Washington state, although most of the instructors are expected to attend from North, Central, and South Kitsap.

During the 30-hour meetings, teachers will receive $400 in books and a $400 stipend while they learn how to facilitate teaching and learning about Asia in social studies, humanities, history, geography, and literature courses. Teachers will also get an overview of Chinese and Japanese history through lectures, discussions, readings, films, a field trip and will have the opportunity to travel to China and Japan for three weeks.

“It’s a resource that wouldn’t necessarily come in a general textbook,” said Lis. “It’ll help with specific and real-time information.”

Lis said he has been surprised by the positive response the seminars received from teachers and staff. While many of the teachers who teach Far East curriculum were interested, he said, so were a number of staff members who enjoy the history and culture of the area.

Teachers of grades 6-12 will attend the seminar from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Jan. 25, Feb. 8, March 8, March 15, and April 26. All the classes will be held in the administrative building on Caldart Avenue.

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