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Portuguese town makes Mandarin mandatory from 3rd grade on

November 26, 2014

A Portuguese Town Is Making Mandarin Mandatory For Eight-Year-Olds To Gain A Foothold In China

The small industrial town of Sao Joao da Madeira, Portugal's shoe capital which specialises in luxury models, has now made Mandarin compulsory for its 8- and 9-year-olds© AFP Patricia de Melo MoreiraThe small industrial town of Sao Joao da Madeira, Portugal’s shoe capital which specialises in luxury models, has now made Mandarin compulsory for its 8- and 9-year-olds

Lisbon (AFP) – Five hundred years after the Portuguese became the first Europeans to establish sea trade with China, a town in northern Portugal is counting on its youth to secure a new foothold in the Asian giant.

The small industrial town of Sao Joao da Madeira, Portugal’s shoe capital which specialises in luxury models, has now made Mandarin compulsory for its 8- and 9-year-olds.

The aim is to give their youth the competitive tool to help sell its footwear to China.

And the government, battling to put six years of debilitating crisis behind, is watching the town’s experiment closely to see if it can be replicated throughout the country.

“Chinese is the key which will open the doors to the world’s biggest market,” said Dilma Nantes, Sao Joao da Madeira’s city councillor on education.

China may be known as the factory of the world, and is indeed the biggest producer of footwear — making 10 billion pairs a year — but Portuguese shoe-makers are starting to step into the huge Asian market.

Read more:

A nice blog from a Mandarin immersion school that opens next year

November 26, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 9.51.16 AMRedwood City, Calif. is launching a Mandarin immersion school next year. They’ve got a nice blog up talking about why it’s a good thing for the school, the families and the district.  Worth taking a look at it if you’re trying to sell your program.

MIIRWC –  Mandarin Immersion in Redwood City, serving Redwood City and surrounding neighborhoods.

Top 10 Reasons Mandarin Immersion at John Gill is a Great Opportunity

Attracting Excellence Leads to Rising Tides.  Mandarin Immersion Programs are unique. They tend to attract parents and students from both within and outside the district who are committed to academic excellence.  An influx of these students will likely positively impact the academic reputation and performance of John Gill Elementary.A Warm Welcome.  As of now, a number of families in the neighborhood of John Gill, send their children to other schools. With news of an MI program, neighbors are responding positively and recognize that the program could potentially turn the neighborhood school around. More importantly, the Redwood City School District strongly supports dual language immersion as a robust strategy for learning academics, culture, and language.

Diversity. The addition of the MI program will enhance the diversity of the student population at John Gill. Students of the MI Program will play and interact with the rest of the student body outside of classes taught in Mandarin, such as PE, Music, recess, and lunch. Everyone at the school will benefit from exposure to different cultures, languages, and perspectives.

Solid Infrastructure. The historic campus is situated on Eagle Hill, mostly surrounded by single family homes.  Several beautiful redwood trees shade the campus with plenty of outdoor space, sports fields, and playgrounds for students to explore. It is across the street from a big park and community center, and a short distance to stores like Whole Foods, Safeway, and downtown. You can also check real estate listings to get a sense of the surrounding neighborhood.

Fresh Leadership. The school has a new principal, Katherine Rivera, and assistant principal (which appears to be a newly added position), Nick G. Fanourgiakis, both of whom have a great deal of experience and background in bilingual education. The principal lives in the neighborhood and sends her children to the Adelante Spanish Immersion Program. In talking with her, it’s obvious Principal Rivera is invested in and committed to the improving the quality of education at John Gill and Redwood City Schools overall.

Facebook Really Likes Us. Redwood City School district received a $1.06 million grant from Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan. Part of the grant supports a revitalization project for John Gill with the support of Innovate Public Schools. There is a design committee that has been formed through this project and parents of prospective MI students are already invited to participate in re-designing the school.

Experienced Advisors. Between Dr. John Baker, Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Linda Montes, Director of English Learner Services, and Dr. Danni Tsai, Educational Services Coordinator of San Mateo County, are decades of experience and expertise in education, teaching, and facilitating the complex process of starting a new immersion program. Drs. Montes and Baker were instrumental in initiating and administering the successful Adelante Spanish Immersion School. Dr. Tsai helped create the first public school Mandarin Dual Immersion Program in Santa Clara County and at one time owned a successful private Mandarin Immersion school. Just hearing them discuss what is important to implement for this MI program, you immediately get the sense we are in good hands.

Great People. Seriously. Throughout the process of starting this program, we have met smart, enthusiastic, hardworking parents, school administrators, and school board members. Over 180 families have shown an interest in the program and over 30 families have directly offered to volunteer time and energy. This type of collaborative hands-on approach will not only make the program a success but also make it great community to join.

Your Voice Counts. Ordinarily, parents do not get much say in their children’s school programs.  For the MI Program, we have the opportunity to work with the school on decisions relating to after school care, tutoring, and teacher candidate qualities. To join this effort, please sign up for the MIIRWC (Mandarin Immersion in Redwood City) Parents Group.

Bilingualism. Last, but not least, your child is going to be proficient in Chinese and English! Even for families with zero experience with the Chinese language, there are many ways parents can helpchildren with homework and support them in school. Children can adapt to their new “target language” quickly (often within months). The entire family can share the benefits of learning a new language.
Sooner than you think, they will be able to help you translate this:  要学中文!
Into this… I want to learn Chinese!

Mandarin immersion comes to Redwood City, Calif.

November 24, 2014
Mandarin programs growing: Redwood City Elementary School District latest to add immersion course offerings
November 24, 2014, 05:00 AM By Angela Swartz Daily Journal

Community demand, along with the fact that more than a billion people in the world speak Chinese, has been the impetus for more language programs in its predominant dialect Mandarin in Peninsula schools.

The Redwood City Elementary School District Board of Trustees approved Oct. 22 the beginning of a Mandarin immersion program at John Gill Elementary School next school year. The program would begin with at least one kindergarten and one first-grade class, each with about 28 students; adding a grade level each year up to fifth-grade. Language immersion is a method of instruction in which the learner’s target language is used in classroom instruction. Advocates for immersion programs say it’s the most effective and natural way to learn a second language. In a Mandarin immersion classroom, the teacher instructs all content in Mandarin and students are encouraged to speak with each other in Mandarin.

“It improves problem solving and better listening skills for learning other languages,” said John Baker, the district’s deputy superintendent of curriculum and instruction. “In the future, it creates job opportunities for children.”

Registration for the program began Nov. 3 and runs until Jan. 9, 2015, and students will be selected on a lottery basis, Baker said. The idea was brought to the district in September 2013 by parents in the community. Because the majority of the parents who came forth with the idea live in the John Gill attendance area, that’s where the district decided to place the program, he said. Diana Fu, parent organizer for the Mandarin Immersion in Redwood City parent group, lives in the John Gill neighborhood and has organized Mandarin story time at the library, along with short workshops on Mandarin at John Gill. Jean Watanabe, co-leader of the group, has a child who will attend transitional kindergarten next year and wants him to be able to enter the Mandarin program at John Gill in the future.

“I’m Chinese; I spoke it growing up as a kid,” Watanabe said. “Being able to speak the language means a lot to me. My husband is not Chinese and he is also learning. One of the best ways to learn is taking a Mandarin immersion program. I could send my kids to San Mateo, Mountain View or Fremont, but it would be great if there was something in our community.”

Please read more here.

Second year of Chinese immersion in southern Washington state

November 19, 2014

Year two of Mandarin Chinese Immersion Program begins in Naselle


Observer correspondent

Published:November 4, 2014 4:46PM

Chen Sha
Naselle school welcomes new Chinese teachers

NASELLE — A Mandarin Chinese immersion program successfully launched at Naselle-Grays River School District for kindergarten and first grade students last year is expanding to include second grade.

The expansion comes after the Naselle School Board voted in May to provide up to $25,000 to continue the immersion program this school year. Helping pay for this are grants from the College Board and the Teachers of Critical Language Program.

The two new Mandarin teachers arrived shortly before the start of this school year. With two months of teaching at Naselle, it’s time to get to know them and their perceptions of their host community.

Ms. Xie Fen, 1st grade Mandarin immersion teacher

Xie Fen (pronounced “She Fong”), or Michelle as she is called at the Naselle school, was born and raised in Hunan province in southern China. As is the case in much of China, she comes from a small family made up of her parents, now retired, and her brother. She lives in the neighboring province of Guangdong, formerly known as Canton. Now single, she has a 13-year-old son, Wang, Yifeng (Andrew) who is currently in the 7th grade in China and lives with his father. According to Xie, “He is a handsome and cute boy and I love him very much.” Knowing she would be away from her son for up to a year made coming to the U.S. a very difficult decision, but she felt the experience would make her an even better teacher upon her return to China.

Please read more here.

United Kingdom’s first Mandarin immersion schools scrapped

November 17, 2014

Marco Polo Academy scrapped – but what does this mean for school places in Barnet?

The project for the new bilingual Chinese and Englishs school was heavily supported – but the DfE said it was not ‘inclusive enough’
The project for the new bilingual Chinese and Englishs school was heavily supported – but the DfE said it was not ‘inclusive enough’

by Anna Slater , Chief Reporter
Updated on 6:33pm Wednesday 23rd April 2014 in News
Parents and campaigners faced a “bitter blow” at news that a Chinese school they had been fighting to open has been scrapped.

The Marco Polo Academy, which supporters hoped to open in Burnt Oak, was approved by the Department for Education (DfE) in January – but the authority has since backtracked on its decision.

It was due to open to primary school pupils in September 2014, but the news means the 53 children who had been offered a place have been forced to reapply.

But the DfE said the bilingual Chinese and English school was “not inclusive enough” and that the campaign group behind it were “not ready” to run a school.

Please read more here.

Houston ok’s Arabic immersion school

November 14, 2014

HISD okays Arabic immersion schools

November 13, 2014 | Updated: November 13, 2014 9:33pm

(Houston’s also got an amazing Mandarin immersion school, more here.)

The Houston school board granted approval Thursday for the district to open one of the nation’s first public Arabic immersion elementary schools.

The new school reflects Superintendent Terry Grier’s push to graduate more bilingual students. The district opened a Mandarin Chinese immersion school in 2012 and plans to have about 50 schools with Spanish dual-language programs next year after doubling the number last year.

“The fact is, America is a really terrible example of learning two languages,” said school board member Harvin Moore, who sends his 10-year-old son to the Mandarin school. “I’m proud of the fact this district has done something about it.”

The Arabic school, to be housed at the old Holden Elementary near the greater Heights area, will start small next year, with slots for nearly 90 kindergarten and pre-kindergarten students. Officials with the Houston Independent School District said instruction will be split evenly between Arabic and English.

“It’s fabulous. It will open a lot of opportunities,” said Lina Sabouni, chairwoman of the education committee of the Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce Houston chapter.

Please read more here.

Menlo Park, CA rejects Mandarin immersion charter

November 14, 2014

Menlo Park School Board rejects bid to create a Mandarin immersion charter school

UPDATED:   11/14/2014 05:59:36 AM PST

The Menlo Park City School Board this week unanimously rejected a petition to establish a charter school where the core curriculum would be taught in Mandarin.

In its decision Wednesday night, the school board cited the findings in a 56-page report that concluded the proposed Menlo Mandarin Immersion Charter School “does not appear to be demonstrably likely to succeed.”

The report, released Sunday by a group of Menlo Park City School District administrators and consultants, evaluated the charter’s proposed curriculum, governing structure, staffing and finances, among other components.

District parent Carol Cunningham, who has led the charter school initiative and acted as its spokesperson, said after the meeting that she and the other founders “need to regroup” before deciding what do do next, if anything.

It can appeal to the San Mateo County Board of Education, and if rejected there could ask the California Department of Education to authorize the school.

Please read more here.


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