Fox Creek High School principal Dr. Timothy Murph returned Aug. 11 from a trip to Brazil as a participant in the Educational Seminar: 2011-2012 Brazil Administrator Exchange Program.
The experience had a profound effect on him, Murph said.
“It energized me more than anything. It lifted my spirits that here at Fox Creek, we can achieve success,” he said.
“I think oftentimes in America, we measure our schools versus ourselves. When we do that, sometimes we look at the glass as half empty – we don’t have this or we don’t have that.
‘‘Going to Brazil, seeing the quality of their infrastructure, their facilities, their materials and what we have here in America, it’s really made me look at the glass as half full.”
Murph spent two weeks in Brazil learning about the country’s educational system. He also had the opportunity to tour some sites.
He visited several schools, including the schools of the Brazilian principals who visited Fox Creek last October to learn about the American educational system.
“It was very exciting to see them because they were here for a little over three weeks and I developed friendships with them. It was also nice to see what they’ve done to make their schools better than the neighboring schools in their country,” he said.
“The reason they were awarded the trip to come here was because they run the best schools. The great part about my visit was that I got to see all of the schools and their great schools. It was nice to see what they did that was different, and what was better.”
One of the differences Murph noticed between Brazilian and American schools is how the school day is structured.
“There, they have what they call turns. Most schools have three turns, and a turn is what we think of as a school day. They have three turns in one school day,” he said. “They have one building and one school name but they will have students go in the morning from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Then they will have the next group from (noon) to 4 p.m. and then the last group from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. So they have three schools within the school.”
He also gave presentations on the American educational system to the principal associations in the states of Rondônia and Ceará, speaking to about 200 principals in each state.
He also spoke to the principals association in the state of São Paulo, in front of a group of about 1,000 principals, on the topic of school management.
“It was a great experience and I’m thankful that I was chosen to be a part of it,” he said of his participation in the exchange program.
Murph plans to share more about his trip in a presentation to Fox Creek’s board and faculty and staff later this school year.