From October, 10 to the 3rd of November I had the most rewarding experience participating in the Educational Seminars.

In Washington, DC, we had the chance to attend very interesting workshops, at the beginning and at the end of the program. There, we also shared experiences with our fellow principals from Brazil, Argentina and Thailand as well as with American hosts that met us for the program’s opening. Being the first time Portugal participated in the Seminars, both me and Adélia Lopes were very requested to answer questions about the country and the Portuguese educational system.

I was hosted by Dr. Suzanne Roy, co-superintendent of Belmont – Redwood Shores School District, very close to San Francisco, California, in the heart of High-Tech business. It was a really immersive experience of the American Educational system. Together with two Brazilian Principals, I had the opportunity to learn about public schools’ challenges and hard work to assure the best educational service. We learned about curricula, school budgets, special needs programs, state of the art educational technology and school administration in general. All the information or document we asked for was promptly made available and we were allowed to attend several meetings that I didn’t expect and that made us more aware of the issues regarding school administration in the USA.

Besides all the schools of Belmont – Redwood Shores School District, we also visited a private school (Crystal Springs Uplands School), Stanford University, The San Mateo County Office of Education, the STEM (Science, Technology Engineering, Math) Workforce Development and Carlmont High School, which gave us a comprehensive knowledge of education in the USA.

We were also lucky for being there in a very interesting period that gave us an interesting insight of American culture. There was the campaign for the election of the President of the USA going on, campaigns for several proposals with immediate effect on education and school budgets and, of course, the Halloween celebration and the finals of the baseball world series that made the San Francisco Giants champions.

Dr. Suzanne Roy was an excellent host and made our visit really worthwhile. Everybody during the whole Seminars did their best to make us feel at home and the warmth and friendliness of the American professionals made the whole program a very pleasant time. I am glad to say that I made very good friends and effective professional networks.

I thank Fulbright Foundation for giving me the opportunity to take part in this life changing experience.

 Jorge Saleiro
2012 Educational Seminars para Administradores Escolares, com o apoio da Comissão Fulbright e da Fundação Luso-Americana