>> Czech Educators Visit Palacios and Van Vleck High Schools
Czech Educators Visit Palacios and Van Vleck High Schools
October 10, 2012
Four educators from the Czech Republic recently got a taste of
Texas hospitality while visiting Matagorda County. Secondary
teacher Jitka Klusackova from the general high school in Trebic,
and professors Karel Katovsky, Petr Mastny, and Jiri Martinec from
Brno Technical University visited Palacios and Van Vleck High
Schools as part of a bilateral agreement signed in September 2011
between the United States Department of Energy and the Czech
Republic. The educator exchange is designed to foster collaboration
through the sharing of information and best practices in nuclear
education. The visit was hosted by the Nuclear Power Inistitute
The Czech educators met with Matagorda County Judge Nate
McDonald and Wharton County Judge Phillip Spenrath to begin their
visit, and then were treated to a tour of Van Vleck High School by
the senior members of POWER SET and Workforce Industry
Training (WIT). While at Palacios High School, the Czech
educators participated in the POWER SET induction ceremony and
visited several classrooms while touring the campus. "I think it is
really wonderful all the opportunities American students have,"
remarked Klusackova.. "To know something about agriculture, or
computers, or cooking even if that is not the field you will work
in is very good I think."
Since the primary focus of the visit was nuclear energy and
education programs, the Czech educators also visited with employees
and toured the STP nuclear plant. "I was very much interested in
the spent fuel storage as that is a problem across the nuclear
industry," said Katovsky. The visit to Matagorda County was capped
with a tour of the Center for Energy Development given by Rudolph
Henry, the Director of Nuclear Power Technology at the Wharton
County Junior College Bay City Campus.
Stephanie Garcia, Palacios High School math teacher, Mollie
Huber, Van Vleck High School Counselor, and Valerie Segovia,
Director of Outreach and Development for NPI, visited the Czech
Republic last March for the first phase of the educator exchange.
The group toured the general high school and the technical high
school in Trebic, as well as Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant, Brno
Technical University, Charles University in Prague, and the U.S.
Embassy. While in the Czech Republic, they were hosted by the Czech
Nuclear Education Network (CENEN).
As a result of the exchange, the educators will be working on
designing and implementing a project that will require the Czech
and American high school students to collaborate. Based on an idea
by Klusackova, the project will begin with Czech and American
students corresponding via email, internet, and Skype.
Development of the nuclear workforce is the main focus of NPI, a
unique statewide partnership led by the Texas A&M Engineering
Experiment Station and headquartered at Texas A&M University.
POWER SET and WIT are workforce development initiatives sponsored
by NPI in the secondary schools. Both organizations encourage
students who have an interest in science, math, engineering, or
technology to pursue careers in those fields. POWER SET's
membership is limited to young women with proven aptitude in math
and science while WIT serves both male and female students.
By Mollie M. Huber, counselor at Van Vleck High