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Posted: Thursday, October 17th 2013 at 1:22pm

Brazilian school leaders come to study Hall County schools

By Marc Eggers Staff
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Casey Cagle (L) and Will Schofield welcome Brazilian guests
GAINESVILLE – Hall County Schools welcomed two school administrators from Brazil Thursday morning who are part of an exchange program sponsored by the Educational Seminars Exchange Grant for Administrators, a grant recently awarded to the World Language Academy in southern Hall County.

"We’re one of the few districts in the state of Georgia, and unfortunately, one of the few districts in the country, that believes learning multiple languages at a young age…is a job skill that will serve our students well," School Superintendent Will Schofield said during the formal introduction of the Brazilian women.

Brazil has the largest number of Portuguese speaking residents in the world, but emphasizes dual-language instruction in their educational system.

"In the last two months, for the first time ever, we have added the Portuguese language (to the curriculum)," Schofield added.

Joining Mr. Schofield to welcome Neilany de Campos Manhaes Marinho, of Rio de Janeiro, and Quiteria Alves Caladode Melo, of Santana do Mundau, were Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, Portuguese language professors from the University of Georgia and the University of North Georgia, and numerous Hall County school system principals.

World Language Academy Principal David Moody, who authored the grant request, said, "They are two administrators that are recognized in Brazil for their innovative thinking. They are here to get educational principles they can take back." Their visit will be for thirteen days.

Moody explained that in August he will be traveling to Brazil, the world’s fifth largest nation in both population and land mass, to reciprocate and study their educational practices, particularly in the area of language studies.

"The United States actually has Portuguese listed as a language of national security," Moody said. "It’s (also) a business interest, an economic interest as Brazil becomes an economic powerhouse in the world."

WLA Associate Principal Carrie Woodcock said the choice of Brazil as partner-nation for the exchange program began when thought was being given to another Romance Language that might be offered to the students. "Thinking in terms of the world markets, where are the opportunities for business growth? We need to look at them (the students) in sixteen years when they graduate from college."

"What are the opportunities for these kids going to be?" Woodcock added. "The world is wide open."

Woodcock said the administrators will also have a chance to participate in community and cultural activities outside of the classroom.

School system spokesman Gordon Higgins added that Hall County was a sought-after partner to the Brazilian educators because of the existing dual language immersion program already in place at WLA.

"Fifty percent of the instructional day for these students is actually in a language other than their native language," Higgins explained. "...they thought that was an interesting premise and wanted to see how that can actually function."
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