Germany visit builds relationships, provides new teaching ideas

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In mid January, members of the Pinellas County School District joined other Tampa Bay area public school educators and business leaders for a trip to Germany to study that country’s dual education system, which offers students hands-on experience in various fields. This model prepares German students for college, vocational schools, apprenticeships and careers after high school.

“This trip is a wonderful opportunity for us to learn more about Germany’s highly successful dual education model and consider which pieces we may want to implement or expand upon here in Pinellas County,” said Superintendent Dr. Michael A. Grego.

From PCS, Grego was accompanied by School Board Member Robin L. Wikle and Director of East Lake High School’s Academy of Engineering Paul Wahnish.

View a PHOTO GALLERY of the Florida delegation’s January visit.

“We do such a great job with our current career academies and Centers of Excellence that this could only give us further insight into other avenues of career and technical education,” Wikle said.

The trip was coordinated by the Florida chapter of the German American Chambers of Commerce of the Southern United States (GACC South). The state chapter is based in Tampa Bay. The GACC South is a private, non-profit organization and serves as the official representative of German trade in the 11 Southern states.

Other participants in January’s trip to Bavaria were:
• Kurt Browning, Superintendent, Pasco County School District
• Peter Bucynsky, President, Pharmaworks, Inc.
• Alison Crumbley, Member of the Board, Pasco County School District
• John Hagen, President, Pasco County Economic Development Council
• Stefanie Jehlitschka, Vice President, GACC South
• Bryan Kamm, Director of Public Relations, Bauer Foundation Corp.
• Kathryn Starkey, Commissioner, Pasco County

As a follow-up event to the Florida delegation’s visit in mid January, on Jan. 29, the German Ambassador Peter Ammon invited German companies in the United States and U.S. Commerce Secretary Dr. Rebecca Blank to a roundtable discussion in Washington DC at his residence to publicly announce the support of the “Skills Initiative”, said Kamm.

“This is becoming a very popular topic in the United States,” he said.

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