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Popular San Francisco-area Mandarin program won’t have to move

June 29, 2015

College Park Elementary in San Mateo, Calif (in Silicon Valley) began its Mandarin immersion program in 2007, an outgrowth of the Mandarin classes it began offering in 2004. It’s a Gifted and Talented Magnet School as well, though all students are able to attend. In 4th and 5th grade the school has special day classes for gifted children:

“The San Mateo-Foster City School District offers a special-day class for gifted students.  This program is located at College Park.  A careful screening is done for all SMFC third grades students.  Those that have scored well on state exams and have their teacher’s recommendation are invited to take an additional problem solving assessment to determine their aptitude for the GATE program.  Invitations to the GATE program at College Park are issued by the GATE department at the SMFC School District.

In addition to meeting the social and emotional needs of gifted students, the core curriculum is compacted and introduced at a highly accelerated pace so that learning experiences are developmentally appropriate to the special needs, interests, and abilities of students in the program. The differentiated curriculum includes instructional strategies that promote inquiry, self-directed learning, discussion, debate, metacognition, and other appropriate modes of learning. Additionally, it includes depth, complexity, novelty, and rigor, reinforcing abstract thinking, big ideas, and cross-curricular connections of the content area.”


New leader selected for San Mateo-Foster City: Joan Rosas will take charge of San Mateo-Foster City Elementary School District as superintendent, pending school board approval

June 02, 2015, 05:00 AM By Austin Walsh Daily Journal

Officials have selected Joan Rosas as a finalist to take control of the San Mateo-Foster City Elementary School District, replacing outgoing Superintendent Cynthia Simms.

Rosas currently serves as the assistant superintendent of Student Services in the San Mateo County Office of Education, where she has worked since 2011.

The district Board of Trustees is expected to ratify a contract for Rosas, and officially name her superintendent, at the upcoming board meeting Thursday, June 4.

Rosas has more than three decades of experience working in education, including serving previously as a teacher and administrator in the San Mateo-Foster City district.

Board President Audrey Ng said Rosas’ institutional knowledge of the district granted her a leg up when the board was considering candidates to replace Simms, who will retire at the end of the school year.

“She knows the people she will be working with and she has the network to take us to the next level,” Ng said.

During her previous tenure in the district, Rosas founded Fiesta Gardens International School, the Spanish immersion school in San Mateo, as well as serving as director of Education Services, the assistant superintendent of Student Services and the assistant superintendent of Human Resources.

Please read more here.

LAUSD Mandarin immersion program expansion sparks backlash

June 25, 2015
<em>Mark Twain Middle School in Mar Vista. Photo from Wikipedia</em>

Mark Twain Middle School in Mar Vista. Photo from Wikipedia

“It’s really been an L.A. story,” said Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) board member Steve Zimmer, who is in the middle of a classic Los Angeles conflict that reflects the city’s many cultures and tensions.

The dispute is taking place in West Los Angeles, in an area encompassing parts of Venice and Mar Vista. The people who ran a popular Mandarin immersion program at Venice’s Broadway Elementary School wanted to expand to both Mandarin and Spanish immersion and move to a new building, proposed to be built on the Mark Twain Middle School campus in Mar Vista, a few miles west. The new building would cost $30 million.

Please read more here.

Vancouver, Wash. Mandarin program changes boundaries

June 19, 2015

Boundary to change for popular Vancouver elementary school

Franklin Elementary hosts Mandarin immersion program

By Susan Parrish, Columbian education reporter

Published: June 10, 2015, 10:00 AM

On the Web

Learn about Franklin Elementary’s Mandarin language immersion

The Vancouver Public Schools board approved a boundary adjustment Tuesday night that effectively will send 37 students from Benjamin Franklin Elementary School to the Fruit Valley Community Learning Center.

The boundary adjustment affects students who live west of Fruit Valley Road in Lakeside Mobile Estates. The mobile home park, 6610 N.W. Whitney Road, is 1.9 miles from the Fruit Valley school campus and 2.47 miles from the Franklin campus.

Incoming fourth- and fifth-grade students have the option to remain at Franklin Elementary until they are in middle school.

The school district is adjusting the boundary because of increasing enrollment demands at Franklin Elementary, which hosts the district’s Mandarin immersion program. Total enrollment at Franklin Elementary is 389 students. Of those, 238 students — 61 percent — are enrolled in the Mandarin immersion magnet program, said Franklin Principal Laura Dilley.

“A combination of the Mandarin program and some growth in the area have contributed to the need for portables,” said Todd Horenstein, the district’s assistant superintendent.

Please read more here.

Diamond/Bosworth update

June 18, 2015

In the May 28 blog summary of the GPA’s transportation committee’s first meeting with SFMTA, traffic engineer Damon Curtis had promised to look into two things:

–creating simultaneous protected lefts northbound and southbound on Diamond

–switching the new protected northbound left on Diamond to be southbound in the evening to accommodate rush hour traffic

Neither option will be possible. The rationales given by SFMTA are summarized below (and Curtis’s full email is attached here).

One important term to note: LOS means “Level of Service,” a state standard that basically measures how many cars can be pushed through an intersection in a given time. It is graded from A to F. Its applicability is changing in a way that I didn’t totally understand, sorry to say.

On creating simultaneous protected lefts northbound and southbound on Diamond:

Curtis modeled simultaneous protected northbound and southbound left turns with both a 90-second and a 120-second signal cycle. For the former, the intersection level of service [LOS] degrades to F and for the latter it degrades to E. Therefore both scenarios trigger a significant impact that would require additional, extensive environment review.

A protected NBLT does not degrade LOS to an E or an F because northbound traffic can still proceed straight through the intersection at the same time. (See more detail in the longer answer below.)

On switching the new protected northbound left on Diamond to be southbound in the evening to accommodate rush hour traffic:


Technology exists to allow for different left-turn phasing at different times of day to meet changing demand, but based on the traffic counts from the Glen Park EIR Traffic Impact Study which SFMTA used as the basis for its recent left-turn analysis, northbound left turn volumes far exceed southbound left turn volumes in both the AM and PM peak hours (229 versus 137 in the AM, and 210 versus 117 in the PM).

More from Curtis:

“In traffic signal timing we base the amount of green time for a given movement on the volume of cars and the movement that requires the most amount of green time is defined as the critical movement. If we base the timing on percentages, the intersection would not operate efficiently and inevitably one or more approaches would begin to back up.

“For the NBLT and SBLT at Diamond/Bosworth, the left-turns as a percentage of all traffic on their approach are about equal, but we know that beneath those percentages are real numbers and that the NBLT has a demand of 229 cars and the SBLT demand is 137 cars. That means the NBLT has 67% more vehicles than the SBLT. In addition, in the NB direction there are 243 vehicles going straight or turning right, but in the SB direction that total is only 165, i.e., the NB demand is 47% greater.

“And since cars going straight and cars turning right must share a single lane (the case for both NB and SB), it only takes having that first vehicle in the queue wanting to go straight to hold up all of the potential right-turners and therefore the expectation is that the majority of the straight thru and right-turn movements will occur only when the light is green.

“Taking all these factors together, we can begin to understand why the intersection Level Of Service breaks down when we introduce a protected SBLT phase – it’s primarily because during a protected SBLT phase, all of the NB straight thru and right turn traffic must be held back, then during the subsequent green phase we are unable to provide enough time to serve all of those vehicles, not to mention serving the demand for EB and WB, and still keep the overall signal cycle length below 120 seconds.”


GPA: What about congestion backflow into GP Village?

Curtis: “Regarding favoring southbound [protected left] over northbound because the effects of congestion are greater in the residential/commercial area north of the intersection than they are coming off the freeway to the south, I will start by saying say that when it comes to the signal timing at Diamond/Bosworth there is no magic bullet and there will be some trade-offs.

“I discussed this very point with Ricardo [Olea, City traffic engineer] and we both agree that when taking a more macro view of traffic operations at and around Diamond/Bosworth, there is little question that causing back-ups on NB Diamond (which having a protected SBLT would do) will negatively impact traffic on Monterey as far back as the freeway on/off-ramps at Monterey/Circular, and that would have a far greater impact on a much larger number of people than the alternative.”

[Note from Heather] If you’ve read this far, you’re a true geek and might want to check out this presentation from Ricardo Olea titled “Signal Timing and Pedestrians.”

A remarkable multi-media work on adoption from China

June 18, 2015

I know we have many families formed through adoption who read this blog, so I wanted to make you aware of a wonderful and very deeply reported work about adoptees returning to China.

Please see the site here.

Touching Home in China

A Transmedia Work in Progress

Touching Home Chinese V clear

What happens when American teenagers adopted from China return to the farming towns where they were abandoned as babies, meet girls their age who were raised there, and learn from them what it’s like to grow up female in rural 21st century China?

Find out in this first-of-its-kind story about growing up as a girl —and becoming a young woman — in rural China. Chinese and American girls whose lives began in the same towns, then diverged dramatically due to international adoption, narrate a journey of discovery. Through transmedia storytelling, the girls’ encounters emerge from pages of an interactive digital book and expand across multiple digital platforms. Seamlessly told and elegantly designed, Touching Home in China: in search of missing girlhoods portrays this rare cross-cultural story with video taken of the girls — and shot by the girls — in farming towns in China. Added to this video are photo galleries, informational graphics, touch-to-reveal maps and scroll-through documents revealing layers of the girls’ shared experiences. Narrative text weaves their improbable journey together.

This iBook’s character-driven pilot chapter tells the story of the American girls arriving in their “hometowns” in rural China and meeting girls who grew up there. It is available as a complimentary download on the iBooks Store. In September 2015, Touching Home in China will be launched as an interactive girl-to-girl exploration with global reach.

Language immersion schools flourish in D.C

June 13, 2015

Language immersion schools flourish in D.C.

By   /   June 12, 2015  /   No Comments

AP file photo

LANGUAGE IMMERSION: Demand for language immersion programs are high in D.C., as evidenced by the long wait list.

By Moriah Costa |

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Snippets of French, Mandarin, English and Spanish can be heard throughout the classrooms and hallways of D.C. International Public Charter School.

A group of middle schoolers speak in Spanish as they learn geography, while next door students practice their French.

“At DCI we really think it’s important to learn a language and to be internationally (aware),” said Monona, a sixth grade student who is learning Chinese.

Monona is an ambassador for the school and gives me a tour of the building as she explains how students are immersed in one of three different languages.

Please read more here.

LA’s Broadway Mandarin immersion families create website for news on their program

June 12, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 11.03.02 AM

Los Angeles parents have launched a website to keep families up to date on news about  their hugely-popular (among parents) but beleaguered (by the district) program at Broadway Elementary School.

You can check out their blog here.

Here’s some of the background on this.


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