Streator’s new friends from afar revisited La Salle County last week.
The Foreign Service (China) Group stopped back in Streator and the surrounding communities to continue work on the former Sherman School in Streator as well as form connections.
City Manager Scot Wrighton said in a city council meeting that the group met with Streator High School, Illinois Valley Community College and others to help establish a “1+2+2” specialty high school arrangement which will supplement their own offerings.
“I think the timing for this partnership and decision was great and I’m excited and looking forward to see what develops,” said IVCC President Jerry Corcoran in a phone interview.
Corcoran said the college is in early discussions with the incoming educational facility but said the “1+2+2" model could include Chinese students learning English their first year, high school and college dual credit courses the next two years and with the goal of attending a four-year college for two years.
Wrighton added in the meeting that the University of Illinois has tentatively agreed to provide instructors to Sherman Education Institute.
IVCC has a number of English as a Second Language teachers and if all goes according to plan IVCC instructors could be on hand as well at the facility.
“We’ve assured our friends from China that if they make the commitment to try and have that facility ready in the fall semester then we’re happy to work with them and have some IVCC employees on board and ready to complete the first phase,” Corcoran said.
It wouldn’t be the first time the college has worked collaboratively with Streator High School either. Corcoran said the college’s dual credit program sees a high turnout of Streator High School students.
Corcoran added the visitors were impressed with the college's commitment to high technology-based programs as well as the college's use as a gateway to senior institutions.
Corcoran said he’s excited about the prospect of the educational facility both in its addition to educational opportunities in the area as well as the “cultural enrichment” that visitors from another country bring with them.
In the future, Corcoran said it’s possible that bridge may go both ways with IVCC having a presence in China.