VAN NUYS : School Forms Ties to Chinese Campus

As President Clinton grapples with a pending decision on future Chinese-American relations, a Chinese high school and a San Fernando Valley high school Wednesday practiced a little diplomacy of their own.

Far away from Administration officials who are studying whether to extend China's most-favored-nation trade benefits as a June 3 deadline nears, representatives from Van Nuys High School and Shenyang High School began a formal partnership during a morning ceremony at the Los Angeles Unified School District headquarters in Los Angeles.

Administrators at both schools hope the relationship will lead to the exchange of academic technique, materials and one day, perhaps, even students and teachers.

"We feel very honored to be a part of this connection between the two countries," said Van Nuys Principal Robert Scharf. "This is really a pioneering connection in terms of the educational relationship."

The partnership was forged after representatives from the Shenyang school district asked the Los Angeles school district to match their high school with one similar in size and academic program. The district chose 3,000-student Van Nuys High School, which has magnet schools for performing arts, medicine and math/science.

The schools have yet to define the terms of their partnership, but Scharf said it will probably begin with student correspondence.

"These are two very special schools," he said. "This has the possibility of being a very unique relationship."

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