Learning Through Immersion:
MISD Kids Find Their Genius
The Foreign Exchange Student Program
ou can learn about different countries in geography
books, but 11 new Mansfield ISD high school students
have chosen to learn about the U.S. culture by traveling
across the globe and immersing themselves in it.
The MISD Foreign Exchange Student Program provides
teenagers from other countries the opportunity to learn
about the history of the United States, see the workings
of U.S. government and become more fluent in the
written and spoken English language.
“There’s such hope and promise in what a foreign
exchange student can glean from the year-long
experience,” said Holly McCanlies, MISD director of
guidance and counseling. “The purpose of the program is
to gain a deep understanding of a culture that’s different
from their own, to make life-long friendships and to
experience an educational system that is truly great.”
McCanlies said that students from all over the world have
taken advantage of the MISD Foreign Exchange Student
Program, and she has seen how the experience has
helped them flourish into well-rounded individuals.
During their stay, foreign exchange students live with
host families who reside within the district. MISD has
space for five foreign exchange students at each of its
traditional high schools.
Origami, the art of folding paper, has proven to be an
intriguing activity to the students.
n Fridays, there’s an extra pep in the step of the
third and fourth-graders at Martha Reid Elementary
School. It’s not because the weekend is near, though. The
students know that if they do their school work Monday
through Thursday, there’s a special period Friday
morning where they can engage in different clubs.
Principal Rebecca Stephens said the idea was
implemented in the second six weeks to coincide with
one of the guiding statements of Vision 2020, Mansfield
ISD’s new strategic plan, which states that students will
participate in an extracurricular or co-curricular activity.
“Every kid has an interest; every kid has their genius,”
said Stephens. “We’re giving them the opportunity to
try different clubs to see what they like to do outside of
She added that having the clubs during the day gives
students who may not be able to come early or stay later
an opportunity to participate in the different activities as
Origami, science, music, drama, robotics, Legos and
kindness are just some of the various offerings each six
weeks. There’s also a Book Buddies Club in which the
older children read to the younger ones.
Federico Dominguez (seated) is originally from Spain and
attends Timberview High School for the school year.
26 Mansfield School & Family
Stephens added that it’s not just about having fun. The
Friday clubs give children intrinsic motivation and school
buy-in. Starting in January, the club rotations will be
available for the second-graders as well.