Representatives from Maspeth’s Martin Luther School (MLS) recently traveled to China, where they met with administrators at two different schools to speak about potential partnerships and expansion opportunities with the Queens school.
Randy Gast, executive director of MLS, and Kelli Westfal, director of communications at MLS, had the opportunity to meet with administrators and faculty at the schools to discuss offering Chinese students the option of completing Martin Luther’s curriculum to earn an MLS diploma so that they will have the opportunity to attend college in the U.S.
They first visited a school located in Anhui Province, which has an enrollment of more than 5,000 students and is one of the top-rated high schools in the region.
The MLS team also spoke with close to 100 current students and their parents about the educational programs offered at MLS and the advantages of earning a diploma through the school.
“Students in China who participate in our program and successfully complete our prescribed curriculum will have an advantage when applying to colleges in the United States, which is ultimately the goal for so many of these young men and women,” Gast said. “In addition to earning portable and transferable college credits while in high school, they will be improving their English skills, expanding their mathematics and science knowledge and learning about our culture and history. Through this program, we have the potential to reach an incredible number of students and introduce them not only to our culture but also to our beliefs and values.”
Gast and Westfal also met with another school located in Beijing, as well as with a group that is potentially interested in opening a satellite of MLS in China.
“While we are obviously excited about these new partnership opportunities, we are also, frankly, scared, because we are one of the first Lutheran high schools to venture into this new educational paradigm,” Gast said. “We can’t ask other schools how they are working through a program like this, because this is one of the first of its kind. But, with God’s hand guiding us, we will work to make these programs successful.”
“This has been an amazing experience for us, because it has also given us an insight into the culture and community that many of our international students are coming from,” Westfal added. “By seeing where they live and learning about their history, we now have a better understanding as to how to make their transition to the United States easier.”