Saturday, June 11, 2011

Oklahoma Department of Education Renews Exchange Partnership with Académie d’Amiens in France

State Superintendent Janet Barresi interacted with French education officials via a live video feed yesterday to mark the renewal of a cultural exchange project with the Académie d’Amiens, a regional education agency located in northern France.

On Friday, June 10 at 9 a.m. in the State Board of Education boardroom, Superintendent Barresi held a video conference with Amiens officials. Both parties signed a new memorandum of understanding to renew the partnership.

Superintendent Barresi and her counterpart, the Rector of the Académie, also exchanged remarks about the partnership. Académies are the French equivalents of state departments of education in the United States. The Académie d’Amiens includes three smaller divisions in the region of Picardy.

“I’m pleased to continue this important partnership,” said Barresi. “In the new knowledge economy, our students must be prepared to engage with the rest of the world and to compete on the global stage. Our partnership with Amiens is a key part of our efforts to rethink how we deliver education.”

The partnership with the Académie d’Amiens, now in its fourth year, builds and expands ties between Oklahoma and French educators and students. The Amiens partnership includes student exchanges, group projects between schools, video conferences and online wiki-based collaboration.

“In the global marketplace, it’s so important for students to engage with and understand different perspectives throughout the world. Educators can talk to students about it, but it has more impact when they experience it directly,” said Desa Dawson, director of world languages for the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

This spring, Dawson was honored by OU’s Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education in the 2011 Celebration of Education awards. Dawson has also been honored in France as a Chevalier (a Knight) of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Order of Academic Palms) an Order of Chivalry in that nation for academics and cultural and educational figures.

More information about pairing with a school in Amiens is now available on the State Department of Education's Website ( under World Languages at

Those interested in learning more can contact Desa Dawson at or by phone at 405-521-3035.
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