Foreign Exchange Program
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Students from all around the world participate in Broward County Public Schools Foreign Exchange Program. Broward County Schools provide foreign exchange students with a uniquely American experience. At the same time, the Foreign Exchange Program enables Broward County students to:
- Learn first hand about other cultures and customs,
- Create life-long friendships across cultures,
- Begin to understand how interconnected all of us are to the whole world,
- Increase school-wide international awareness.
These connections help teenagers on both sides of the student exchange program grow, gain maturity and further increase global understanding.
Sponsoring Organizations Guidelines
The following procedures are to be followed by all sponsoring organizations wishing to enroll foreign exchange students in Broward County Schools. All Foreign Exchange Organizations must first register each foreign exchange student with the District prior to any approval or registration at a Broward County Public High School.
- District Registration: All Foreign Exchange students must be registered with the District prior to approval of the Sponsoring Organization’s Agreement to Enroll/School Acceptance Form. To register, submit the District Registration Form (See Attachment A) and Foreign Student Exchange Organization Agreement and Acknowledgement Form (See Attachment B) along with the Sponsoring Organization’s Agreement to Enroll/School Acceptance Form for approval.
- Visa Application: Upon receipt of the executed District Registration Form and the Foreign Student Exchange Organization Agreement and Acknowledgement Form, the District will sign the sponsoring organization’s Agreement to Enroll/School Acceptance Form. The signed Agreement to Enroll/School Acceptance Form will be mailed back to the sponsoring organization. The sponsoring organization is responsible for applying for the J-1 Visa.
- District Clearance:
- To obtain District clearance, the sponsoring organization must provide a hard copy of ALL documents, listed on the Signed Checklist of Required Documents (See Attachment C) to the District office before registering at the boundary school. E-MAIL OR FAXED DOCUMENTS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.
- Submit FALL applications no later than August 1, and SPRING applications no later than December 1, to School Counseling & BRACE Advisement office. Applications MUST contain all required documentation at time of application. Incomplete applications will not be processed and students will not be allowed to register in Broward County Schools.
- Procedural clearance for student enrollment in a Broward County High School must be finalized through the School Counseling & BRACE Advisement office, at least fifteen (15) working days before the exchange student’s arrival to the United States. Requests for procedural clearance submitted from any designated sponsor after the required fifteen (15) workday period shall not be honored.
- School Enrollment: Upon receipt of all required documents to the District office, the sponsoring organization will receive a Foreign Exchange Student Assignment Letter, which will allow them to register the student at the assigned high school. A list of all required documents to present to the high school at time of registration can be found in Attachment D.
- Student Withdrawal: The area representative MUST notify School Counseling & BRACE Advisement office in writing when a student withdraws from their boundary school or returns to their native country. (See Attachment E)
- Change of Host Family Notification: The area representative MUST notify School Counseling & BRACE Advisement office in writing when a student changes host family. Any change of host family must be documented as to the reason(s) necessitating a change. (See Attachment E)
- School Change: Should a change in the host family require a change of the student’s boundary school, the sponsoring organization must complete and submit an updated District Registration Form (Attachment A) to obtain clearance to register at the new boundary school. Upon District approval a new Foreign Exchange Student Assignment Letter will be issued to the sponsoring organization to proceed with registration at the new school. The new high school will also receive a Foreign Exchange Student Assignment Letter. No foreign exchange student will be allowed to register at another high school without District approval and a new Foreign Exchange Student Assignment Letter.
- Forms: All forms may be found on our website below. Mail all documents to: School Counseling & BRACE Advisement Office, 1400 NW 14th Court, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33331
Sponsoring Organization Forms
State Department Regulations
The following State Department rules and regulations must be followed with sponsors taking full responsibility for their Foreign Exchange Student Programs:
- Organizations are not-for-profit with tax-exempt status. Organizations must also be listed officially with the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET).
- Secondary school students must be enrolled and participating in a full course of study at an accredited academic institution.
- Exchange students enter for not less than one academic semester (or quarter equivalency) and not more than two academic semesters (or quarter equivalency).
- The program is conducted on a U.S. academic calendar year basis, except for students from countries whose academic year is opposite that of the United States.
- Exchange students may begin an exchange program in the second semester of a U.S. academic year only if specifically permitted to do so, in writing, by the school in which the exchange student is enrolled. (The Guidance, BRACE and Academic Advisement office must approve all placements in Broward County Schools before enrolling in any Broward County High School.)
- In all cases, sponsors must notify both the host family and school prior to the exchange student's arrival in the United States whether the placement is for an academic semester, an academic year, or a calendar year. (There is no summer school placement in Broward County Schools.) Sponsors must ensure that all representatives acting on their behalf:
- Have been vetted annually through a criminal background check (which must include a search of the Department of Justice's National Sex Offender Public Registry);
- Place no exchange student with his or her relatives;
- Make no exchange student placement beyond 120 miles of the home of the local coordinator authorized to act on the sponsor's behalf in both routine and emergency matters arising from exchange student's participation in the Exchange Visitor Program; 12 Refrain, without exception, from acting as:
- Both a host family and a local coordinator or area supervisor for an exchange student;
- A host family for one sponsor and a local coordinator for another sponsor; or
- Sponsors are required to provide host schools contact information for the local organizational representative (including name, direct phone number, and e-mail address). In order to be eligible for the foreign exchange student program:
- Students in their home countries must not have completed more than 11 years of primary and secondary study, exclusive of kindergarten; or are at least 15 years of age, but not more than 18 years and six months of age as of the program start date.
- Demonstrate maturity, good character, and scholastic aptitude.
- Have not previously participated in an academic year or semester secondary school student exchange program in the United States or attended school in the United States in either F–1 or J–1 visa status. Student enrollment requirements:
- Sponsors must secure prior written acceptance for the enrollment of any exchange student in a United States public or private secondary school.
- Such prior acceptance must be secured from the school principal or other authorized school administrator of the school or school system that the exchange student will attend; and
- Include written arrangements concerning the payment of tuition or waiver thereof if applicable.
- Under no circumstance may a sponsor facilitate the entry into the United States of an exchange student for whom a written school placement has not been secured.
- Sponsors must provide the school with a translated “written English language summary” of the exchange student's complete academic course work prior to commencement of school, 13 in addition to any additional documents the school may require.
- Sponsors must inform the prospective host school of any student who has completed secondary school in his/her home country.
- Sponsors may not facilitate the enrollment of more than five exchange students in one school unless the school itself has requested, in writing, the placement of more than five students from the sponsor.
- Upon issuance of a Form DS–2019 to a prospective participant, the sponsor accepts full responsibility for securing a school and host family placement for the student, except in cases of voluntary student withdrawal or visa denial. Student extra-curricular activities:
- Exchange students may participate in school sanctioned and sponsored extra-curricular activities, including athletics, if such participation is:
- Authorized by the local school district in which the student is enrolled; and
- Authorized by the state authority responsible for determination of athletic eligibility, if applicable. Sponsors shall not knowingly be party to a placement (inclusive of direct placements) based on athletic abilities, whether initiated by a student, a natural or host family, a school, or any other interested party. Student employment:
- Exchange students may not be employed on either a full or part-time basis.
- Students may accept sporadic or intermittent employment such as babysitting or yard work. Host family placement:
- Sponsors must secure, prior to the student's departure from his or her home country, a permanent or arrival host family placement for each exchange student participant. 14
- Verify that each member of the host family household 18 years of age and older, as well as any new adult member added to the household, or any member of the host family household who will turn eighteen years of age during the exchange student's stay in that household, has undergone a criminal background check (which must include a search of the Department of Justice's National Sex Offender Public Registry). Sponsors may not:
- Facilitate the entry into the United States of an exchange student for whom a host family placement has not been secured;
- Place more than one exchange student with a host family without the express prior written consent of the host family, the natural parents, and the students being placed.
- Under no circumstances may more than two exchange students be placed with a host family, or in the home of a local coordinator, regional coordinator, or volunteer. Sponsors may not place students from the same countries or with the same native languages in a single home. Sponsors must:
- In the event of unforeseen circumstances, which necessitate change of host family placement, the sponsor must document the reason(s) necessitating such change and provide the Department of State with an annual statistical summary reflecting the number and reason(s) for such change in host family placement in the program's annual report. (In addition, all documentation must be provided to the Guidance, BRACE and Academic Advisement office.)
- Secure final placement dates of August 31 and January 15, which coincide with the placement report deadlines. The following State Department rules and regulations govern the Exchange Visitor Program Secondary School Students (ss 62.25) and were amended October 27, 2010.
Potential Host Family/Students