Sándor Szenczy, Dr. Béla Szilágyi and István Czuppon represent a benevolent organization that oversees and operates 44 schools in their home country of Hungary. They spent most of the day on Friday, November 1 touring McKinney High School and Webb Elementary School with Superintendent Dr. J.D. Kennedy and Deputy Superintendent Mary Clark. The Hungarian trio has made several trips to the U.S. in recent years to establish educational partnerships and to learn more about the public school system in Texas.
At McKinney High School, the guests visited choir and art classrooms while touring the recently renovated campus. Along the way, they stopped by Richard McGowan’s European history class where they answered questions about the history of Hungary and discussed the Hungarian constitution and recent changes in the country’s political landscape.
At Webb Elementary, Principal Kyle Luthi guided the visitors through several classrooms that demonstrate how Webb uses technology to enhance bilingual learning—an issue of particular interest to Szenczy, Szilágyi and Czuppon. Indeed, one of their goals is to find U.S. teachers willing to teach bilingual classes in Hungary on at least a temporary basis. They also sat in on a music lesson that employed the Kodály Method, a system for teaching music that was developed in Hungary.
While there are certainly differences in education between the U.S. and Hungary, the visit provided an opportunity to realize the similarities as well.
“My school, where I am principal, is very similar to [McKinney High School],” said Czuppon, translated by Szilágyi. “It’s a 21st century school. But, this is not [true] for the whole country of Hungary. Many schools are very much behind, and there are a few underprivileged schools as well. And, certainly I admire the dining hall, and the swimming pool, and the music halls, and the gymnasium—everything in the high school,” he said with a good-natured laugh.
Dr. Kennedy was pleased with the opportunity to showcase McKinney ISD. “You feel pride in what this District offers the students when you see individuals from foreign countries coming over to see what we do. We’re fortunate with the resources that we have that we can deliver a broad range of services and programs to our students. Not all countries are able to accomplish that. It’s interesting, though, to see the similarities between our country and their country as far as the needs of students and how teachers address those needs. And, overall, it was just a great opportunity for us to talk about instruction and how to deliver quality programs to students regardless of what country you’re in.”
“Children are the same everywhere,” added Szenczy, through Szilágyi. “What is the most important for us in Hungary, and we have seen here in the U.S. is that the future builds on the children. They are the kings of our countries, and we serve the kings.”
Story submitted by Shane Mauldin, MISD