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Proposed California bill seeks to remove prohibitions for school language immersion programs

April 16, 2014

Proposed state Senate bill seeks to remove prohibitions for school language immersion programs

click to enlargeJennie Lee

  • West Portal Elementary School teacher Jennie Lee leads a Chinese immersion class Wednesday.

On Wednesday morning, 22 kindergarten and first-grade students filed into their classroom at West Portal Elementary School, stuffed their backpacks into their cubbies and plopped down on a blue rug displaying the ABC’s.Teacher Jennie Lee promptly began speaking to the students in Cantonese, and she would continue to do so for the remainder of the day as part of the school’s language immersion program, one of more than a dozen offered in the San Francisco Unified School District.

Please read more here.

Parents work to found private Mandarin/Spanish trilingual school in Pasadena

April 15, 2014

Parent innovation leads to unusual solution to school frustrations

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Parents Start Own School - 2

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Founding parents Nancy Baca, left, Duhee Lee and Marian Chen look inside an available classroom at Pasadena Christian Church. The ad-hoc group of founding parents are calling the new school “The Oasis Trilingual Community School.”

Tamara Hernandez isn’t the first parent to be underwhelmed by her local public school. But she’s solving the problem in a way not many do: she’s joining other frustrated parents to start a new school.

She said the idea had been percolating in her head for some time. But the project didn’t get started until one afternoon this Winter, while brainstorming with parents about another way to bring change at the school.

“They wanted me to join their effort, and I just blurted out ‘I’m going to start my own school,’” she said. “And then as soon as I said it, it just started happening very quickly.”

Please read more here.

Menlo Park, Calif. families push for Mandarin immersion

March 28, 2014

Menlo Park parents push for Mandarin language immersion program in schools

By Bonnie Eslinger

Daily News Staff Writer

POSTED: 03/28/2014 03:00:00 AM PDT0 COMMENTS

A group of parents who have organized to convince the Menlo Park City School District to launch a Mandarin language immersion program will get to make their pitch to the school board on April 23.

The board plans to review its foreign language offerings at that meeting, although no action will be taken then, Superintendent Maurice Ghysels said.

The district offers Spanish immersion at Laurel and Encinal elementary schools. Established in 2008, the program currently has 248 students in grades K-5, he said.

In that program, teachers give kindergarten students their core academic instruction in Spanish and gradually introduce English though the grades. By the fifth grade, students are taught equally in English and Spanish, according to the district’s website.

About a year ago, parent Carol Cunningham began leading the charge for Mandarin immersion. Her oldest child currently attends Cornerstone Learning Foundation in Palo Alto, a private Mandarin immersion preschool, and is slated to start kindergarten this fall.

Please read more here.

Long Beach, Wash. votes to continue Mandarin immersion

March 26, 2014

Naselle board votes to keep Mandarin
Unanimous vote keeps program

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 8:53 am


NASELLE — The Naselle School Board unanimously voted March 18 to continue the district’s Mandarin Immersion Program, eliciting an eruption of applause from the audience.

Please read more here.

The school’s teachers.

Information about the program here.

Combining Math and Chinese Immersion multiples the benefits

March 25, 2014

By Heather Clydesdale

Teachers today face a conundrum: they lack the hours needed to help students master requisite proficiencies. This burden is amplified for those teaching language immersion classes. Some split their students’ school day with an English teacher, and most must use additional time to explain concepts and build skills in a language that is not students’ mother tongue. Some experts, however, are proving that math and language immersion can be a formula for efficiency in learning both subjects. Asia Society spoke with educators from Utah and educators from Minnesota shared their strategies for combining these two subject areas.

Sandra Talbot, project director for the Utah Chinese Dual-Immersion Elementary Programs, says that the ambitious scope of Utah’s immersion initiative, launched four years ago, prompted state administrators to seek creative ways to combine math and language.

First, they sought a curriculum flexible enough to suit the different programs of ten districts, ultimately selecting the enVisionMATH Common Core product by Pearson because it was topic-driven. “If there was a school district that was using GO Math or Math Expressions,” says Talbot, “we could use a Chinese enVisionMATH topic that the teachers would be able to align successfully with the math topic that was being taught by the other grade-level classrooms.” EnVisionMATH textbooks are also available in Chinese for first through fourth grades, with versions for higher grades expected in the near future. Since Utah uses a fifty-fifty immersion model, where the day is split between two separate teachers giving English or Chinese instruction, a dual-language curriculum makes it easy for educators to coordinate their efforts.

Please read more here.

Utah’s Bilingual Boon

March 24, 2014



When all the big changes came to Heber City, Utah, few people experienced them as keenly as  Eric Campbell, the principal of a local elementary school, father of four boys and pillar of his local church. Campbell and his wife Melissa had been one of the thousands of new families who’d settled here over the last couple of decades, transforming this picturesque former farming community into a suburb. The population rate had long been creeping up in Heber City.

Please read more here.

Dueling Petitions in Illinois over Mandarin immersion

March 20, 2014

From Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Patch

Dueling Petitions Take on Mandarin Immersion in D67

One asks that Mandarin immersion be reconsidered for incoming kindergarteners, the other that the board remove the magnet option for Cherokee School.

Posted by Emily Stone (Editor) , March 18, 2014 at 06:55 PM

The fate of the District 67 Mandarin immersion program and the possibility of a magnet program for world language immersion has led to two dueling online petitions for Lake Forest parents.

One, titled, “Demand District 67 to Reconsider Kindergarten Mandarin Immersion for 2014-15” had 592 supporters as of Tuesday evening. It’s asking the school board to reconsider its decision to eliminate the Mandarin immersion option for incoming kindergarteners.

Please read more here.


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