Foote School has an active and vibrant relationship with Yali Middle School in Changsha, China. A guest teacher from Yali spends the fall semester at Foote, participating in classes throughout the school. A delegation of students and faculty visit Foote each fall, enjoying classes and home stays with Foote families. Foote's ninth grade visits China each March, with the visit to Yali as the highlight.
Foote’s international partnerships began when Chinese businessman Henry Fan approached the Yale-China Association in 1998 with the idea of a U.S.-China teacher exchange program. He envisioned a link with Huizhen Academy, the independent elementary school he had founded four years earlier in Ningbo.
Established in 1901, the Yale-China Association is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote mutual understanding between Chinese and Americans through teaching and service. The association suggested Henry Fan meet with then-Head of School Jean Lamont. Together, working with staff from Yale-China, they began to develop a program that brought teachers annually from Huizhen to teach at Foote for a semester and allowed Foote teachers to travel to China and teach at Huizhen.
Student Travel Begins
In 2004, thanks to a foundation grant that provided funding, the trip was made available to all ninth graders. Eight pioneering students, with teachers Hannah Leckman and Adam Solomon, visited Huizhen Academy during spring vacation.
A New Connection: Yali Middle School
Starting in 2005, Foote began an exchange with a middle school founded in Changsha in 1906 by Yale. Yali (an early Chinese transliteration of "Yale") Middle School was known throughout China in the first half of the century for the quality of its instruction. In 1951, the municipal government took over administration of the school and moved it to its present 17-acre campus in the center of the city. The government also changed its name to the Changsha Number Five Middle School. In 1985, with the re-establishment of relations with Yale-China and with the support of its Chinese alumni, the school was renamed and is once again known as Yali Middle School. Yali is a "key" secondary school, receiving priority in funding and faculty recruitment. Yale-China currently sends four Fellows to teach at Yali Middle School each year.
Foote students and faculty on the Great Wall in 2012