Reynoldsburg High School assistant principal Christopher Brooks left for China Monday as part of a program to promote the study of Chinese language and culture in schools.

Reynoldsburg High School assistant principal Christopher Brooks left for China Monday as part of a program to promote the study of Chinese language and culture in schools.

"The ultimate goal is to start a Mandarin Chinese program at Reynoldsburg High School as a way to look at the 21st-century skills and language skills our students need to be successful," he said.

Brooks was one of 17 Ohio educators chosen for the weeklong trip by the Chinese Bridge Delegation.

"I'm very excited and definitely interested in what the culture is like and how schools are run and what the differences and similarities in our schools are," Brooks said.

Now in its third year, the Chinese Bridge Delegation program aims to build ties with educators and schools in the United States and China. It also aims to help launch Chinese programs here and to strengthen existing ones.

Brooks said those chosen for the trip won their slot through an online application process. Aside from a $900 registration fee paid for by each participant, the entire trip is paid for and sponsored by Hanban, China's Office of Chinese Language Council International, in partnership with the College Board.

No Reynoldsburg city school district funds are used to pay for any part of the trip.

"There is an interest in Reynoldsburg to start a Mandarin Chinese language course, and at the same time, we are looking at 21st-century skills and looking at what our students are going to need to compete in the 21st century," Brooks said

While in China, he said, the educators will visit different schools and meet with teachers, administrators and students.

"It's also about learning and establishing relationships with those educators as we start to look at the Chinese program we would like to start," he said.

Brooks, 30, just finished his first year as assistant principal at Reynoldsburg High School. He graduated from Bowling Green University in 2000 with a degree in music education and received a master's degree in educational administration from BGU in 2005.

He served as director of bands and curriculum director for the Highland school district in Sparta, Ohio, before coming to RHS.

Brooks said he will arrive back in the United States on July 1 and soon after will present his experience to school district officials in hopes of strengthening the mission of launching the high school's first Mandarin language program.

dowen@thisweeknews.com