USA/Scotland exchange visit April 2014

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity, Curriculum for Excellence, International Education, Leadership for Learning | Posted on April 15, 2014

Last week students in Northern Valley Schools, New Jersey welcomed 24 students and 4 staff from Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland. Families of students in Demarest and Old Tappan schools kindly hosted young people from Castle Douglas and Dalbeattie for the week of 5-12 April. This was our reciprocal visit to the USA following the American students’ visit to Dumfries & Galloway in April 2013.

SATURDAY

We had a good flight on United Airlines from Glasgow to Newark Liberty International Airport on Saturday 5th April. It was a very pleasant surprise to be met by Northern Valley friends greeting us warmly at the airport. From there we headed for Demarest High School to meet all host families. In the evening we went to the Ice Skating Rink at the Palisades Centre.

SUNDAY

Sunday was a day for host families to spend some quality time with the new arrivals. Our students were involved in a wide range of activities with their hosts. The weather was superb today and I was delighted to take part in a game of golf at River Vale Country Club.

A beautiful day for a game of golf!

A beautiful day for a game of golf!

Later that afternoon our chaperone group enjoy a traditional thanksgiving-style meal at Steve and Elaine O’Neill’s house.

Fiona and Chris enjoying the sunshine!

Fiona and Chris enjoying the sunshine!

Elaine & Steve hosted us for a delicious thanksgiving style meal.

Elaine & Steve hosted us for a delicious thanksgiving style meal.

Kay, Evan and April on Sunday afternoon.

Kay, Evan and April on Sunday afternoon.

 

Claudia, Susan and Nancy

Claudia, Susan and Nancy

 

 

 

 

 

 

MONDAY

Today we all meet up at Demarest at 7.45am and take a private coach to New York City. Highlight of the day is a boat trip to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island. In the afternoon we visit the Reflecting Pools commemorating those lost in the World Trade Center tragedy.

Standing at 1776 feet, the Freedom Tower

Standing at 1776 feet, the Freedom Tower

Fiona on Liberty Island at the Statue of Liberty

Fiona on Liberty Island at the Statue of Liberty

 

Reflecting Pool at the World Trade Center site

Reflecting Pool at the World Trade Center site

TUESDAY

Today we have a very full and exciting day, starting in Central Park at the ‘Imagine’ commemoration for John Lennon.

Strawberry Fields in Central Park, New York remembering John Lennon

Strawberry Fields in Central Park, New York remembering John Lennon

We then head for the Museum of Natural History and then an opportunity for shopping at Times Square.

At the Museum of Natural History

At the Museum of Natural History

Our dinner at Ellen’s Stardust Diner features our waiters and waitresses also starring as Broadway singers in their own right!

Waiters and waitresses take their chance to sing on Broadway!

Waiters and waitresses take their chance to sing on Broadway!

After our meal we head to the Broadway show, ”Wicked”, which is for many of our group a highlight of the week. A truly excellent show.

Everyone enjoyed the show!

Everyone enjoyed the show!

 

 

IMG_9437Wednesday

Today, we all go to school, either at Old Tappan or Demarest. It’s very interesting to visit a range of classes in a New Jersey school. The schools are very well equipped with technology and other resources. In the evening, all the chaperones enjoyed a lovely meal at Claudia and Evan Cooper’s house. Claudia’s cooking is wonderful. I even took a picture of breakfast!

Strawberrys, pancakes and bacon….mmm….

Strawberrys, pancakes and bacon….mmm….

Thursday

Today our group takes on the challenge of the Project Adventure ropes course. Everyone has their own challenges and successes on this, with beautiful weather today helping all to enjoy the outdoor activities. In the evening we have a formal reception at Old Tappan with a few speeches and exchanges of gifts.

All smiles at the evening reception

All smiles at the evening reception

 

 

Dr Chris Nagy, totally committed to the success of the exchange visit

Superintendent Dr Chris Nagy, a great advocate for the Northern Valley / Dumfries & Galloway partnership

 

Cool dudes

Some cool dudes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Northern Valley hosts

Our Northern Valley hosts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday

Another very full day starting at the Empire State Building with wonderful 360 views of New York and New Jersey from the top.

From the top of the Empire State Building looking towards the Freedom Tower and the Statue of Liberty

From the top of the Empire State Building looking towards the Freedom Tower and the Statue of Liberty.

 

We then go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This massive museum houses a huge range of amazing artefacts.

George Washington crossing the Delaware in December 1776

Famous painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware in December 1776 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the evening we all board ‘The Spirit of New Jersey’ for an evening cruise and dinner. We enjoyed fantastic views of New York from the boat and also of the illuminated Statue of Liberty.

Everyone looking forward to the evening cruise and dinner

Everyone looking forward to the evening cruise and dinner

 

 

 

Chaperone team USA/Scotland prepare to board 'The Spirit of New Jersey'

Chaperone team USA/Scotland prepare to board ‘The Spirit of New Jersey’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This has been a week we’ll never forget! Many thanks to all our friends and families in Northern Valley, New Jersey.

Great views of New York City by night from the boat

Great views of New York City by night from the boat

Fun and games!

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Health & Well Being, International Education | Posted on April 16, 2013

Whether you’re from Scotland, the USA or anywhere else in the world, everyone (of all ages) likes to get together and just have fun! The 48 kids and 9 chaperones that made up our New Jersey / Dumfries & Galloway exchange group had a great time at Cream O’ Galloway, Xscape and on the water at Loch Ken. The pictures say it all!


USA / Scotland exchange visit

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity, Health & Well Being, International Education | Posted on April 16, 2013

Young people from Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland and Northern Valley, New Jersey shared a week-long exchange with visits to a variety of cultural places of interest. They also had great fun at Xscape in Glasgow on the snow and kayaking at Loch Ken. The weather was great, although a tumble into the loch felt more than a little refreshing!

Visit to New Jersey by Dumfries & Galloway students

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, International Education, video conferencing | Posted on April 14, 2011

Last week students in Northern Valley Schools, New Jersey welcomed 23 students and 3 staff from Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland. Families of students in Demarest and Old Tappan schools kindly hosted young people from Castle Douglas and Lockerbie for the week of 2-9 April. This was our reciprocal visit to the USA following the American students’ visit to Dumfries & Galloway in April 2010.

After a 22 hour delay due to a fault in the aircraft and an unexpected overnight stay in Edinburgh, our visit started at Newark Liberty International Airport on Sunday 3rd April. It was a very pleasant surprise to be met by a Northern Valley welcoming party greeting us warmly at the airport. Here goes with a whistle-stop guide to the week’s events.

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Sunday

From Liberty Airport we went to Demarest High School to meet our host families. From there, everyone dispersed to spend the day in a variety of ways. Our staff group, Karen McCutcheon, Fiona Cameron and myself headed off with the American group leader April Vella to the Yankee Stadium for the baseball game between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers. A beautiful sunny afternoon enhanced an exciting afternoon for us for our first ever baseball game. Later that afternoon we headed for our hosts Claudia and Evan Coopers’ home in Emerson, New Jersey. They recently moved into their new house and we enjoyed meeting a variety of friends that evening and had a superb meal prepared by Claudia.

The Coopers' new house  -  our home for the week!

The Coopers' new house - our home for the week!

Monday

At the top of the Rockefeller Center

At the top of the Rockefeller Center

Today we all meet up at Demarest at 7.15am and take a private coach to New York City. Highlight of the day is our visit to the top of the Rockefeller Center and a fantastic view over the city. Our group enjoy lunch at ‘Pop Burger’, a visit to Dylan’s Candy Store and a visit to the American Museum of National History. The Planetarium presentation narrated by Whoopi Goldberg is spectacular. Dinner tonight at Maggianno’s.

Northern Valley and Dumfries & Galloway students at the Rockefeller Center

Northern Valley and Dumfries & Galloway students at the Rockefeller Center

Tuesday

Dumfries & Galloway students spend a day experiencing the American High School curriculum as they follow their hosts from class to class. I’m invited to attend a video conference masterclass at the Manhattan School of Music. In the evening we all meet up at Old Tappan High School for a formal reception.


Blue skies at the Brooklyn Bridge

Blue skies at the Brooklyn Bridge

Wednesday

A lovely morning as we head for New York. A beautiful walk across the Brooklyn Bridge is followed by a tour of lower Manhattan and a visit to the Museum of the American Indian. Lunch at Fraunces Tavern and then on to a very big hit with all our students – Blue Man Group.

A Blue man meets the fans after the show

A Blue man meets the fans after the show

This zany show is enjoyed by all, including myself even if pureed banana is shooting out at us in the audience. Following the show, we made our way to the bright lights of Times Square for shopping before our evening meal at the excellent Bubba Gump Shrimp Factory.

On the Hoboken tour, a demonstration of how to make Mozarella

On the Hoboken tour, a demonstration of how to make Mozarella

Shopping in Times Square!

Shopping in Times Square!

Thursday

This morning we head into New York and go to the Metrapolitan Museum of Art. This massive museum houses a huge range of amazing artefacts. Currently on display at the ‘Guitar Heroes’ exhibition is a guitar made by the master violin maker Antonio Stradivari, made around 1700.

In the afternoon we go on a tour around Hoboken, famous for holding the first ever baseball game in 1846, and the birthplace of Frank Sinatra. Students have dinner with host families. Our staff group enjoy an excellent meal and lovely evening with April, Evan and Claudia at Rob and Lesley’s house.

Friday

Dumfries & Galloway students involved today with American students on the Project Adventure course. This evening we all go to Chelsea Piers in New York to board ‘The Spirit of New York’ for dinner and a cruise. This is an excellent evening with spectacular views of the city and the Statue of Liberty.

Saturday

Another beautiful morning. Students with families. Evan and I go for a walk up to the local elementary school and watch youngsters taking part in baseball activities. In the afternoon we all meet up for a farewell time at Demarest. Coffee, cookies, speeches and a few tears then head off for Liberty Airport. We’ve had an unforgettable week.

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