North Cross School Forms Partnership With School in China

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David Wu (left) of Xinhe School and Robert Robillard (right) of North Cross School.

North Cross will partner with the Xinhe School in Shanghai, China and provide an American-style education to 50 students beginning this fall

David Wu (left) of Xinhe School and Robert Robillard (right) of North Cross School.
David Wu (left) of Xinhe School and Robert Robillard (right) of North Cross School.

North Cross School has signed a three-year agreement with the Xinhe Middle School (grades 9-12) in Shanghai, China. The agreement forms “North Cross–Xinhe School” which will provide an American-style education to 50 tenth grade students in China starting this fall. North Cross School brings curriculum expertise to the venture.

Although the program is new, the concept is not entirely unfamiliar to independent schools in the United States. Pat Bassett, former President of National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), noted in a recent presentation that many parts of the country are experiencing a decline or stagnation in the number of families who can afford to pay tuition at an independent school. Rather than putting the burden of increased tuition on North Cross families, this program will bring in an alternate source of revenue for North Cross with no upfront cost or financial risk for the school. North Cross will be the seventh school nationwide to start a partnership like this in China.

“In my discussions with the Board of Trustees, we determined that it was best for North Cross to develop a source of revenue that would not require an enormous outlay of cash, or put the school in a position of financial risk,” said Chris Proctor, Headmaster of North Cross. “For the last two years we have been in discussion with New Channel Education Group in Beijing to develop an American-style curriculum for a small group of students at a school located in China. New Channel, by the way, is not a new partner for us. During the last four years they have brought over 200 Chinese students to Roanoke to take part in our summer programs. We have enjoyed a positive business relationship, and we are very comfortable working with them in this capacity.”

This program will offer an American-style curriculum to 50 students selected specifically by New Channel for the program. The students will receive the equivalent of 15 American credits and will take pre-AP and AP level classes in English, math, history, and science. All classes will be taught in English.

Students who graduate from the program will earn a diploma from North Cross–Xinhe School and receive college counseling in China for entrance into U.S. colleges and universities. Graduates will apply as part of the international pool of applicants that American colleges review each year, separate from the applicants that come from American high schools.

North Cross is currently in the process of hiring new teachers to work with the students in the Xinhe program. Dr. Marc Lucht has been hired as the lead teacher for the program and will oversee the collaboration between North Cross School and Xinhe School.

Lucht brings impressive credentials to the program. Most recently, he served as Director of the Undergraduate Research Institute at Virginia Tech where he led efforts to support student research, supervised the student editors of the undergraduate research journal Philologia, and coordinated the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences’ student exchange program with a school in Rabat, Morocco.

In addition to providing ample opportunities to students in China, this partnership also opens doors for NCS students in Roanoke, especially those participating in the Horace G. Fralin Program for Global Studies at North Cross School.

“North Cross School’s new partnership with Xinhe Middle School, in Shanghai, China, will make possible valuable educational opportunities for students from both schools,” says Dr. Lucht. “North Cross will be providing education according to the American model to Chinese students in Shanghai, facilitating their admission to American universities. The partnership will enable North Cross and Xinhe students to work together both in China and in Virginia. This will enable them to learn directly about each other’s cultures and ways of thinking, and help them navigate an increasingly globalized world.”