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Mass. Mandarin immersion school adds IB high school program

August 20, 2015

Addition expands Chinese Immersion school in Hadley

Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

HADLEY — As it begins its ninth academic year, the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School will offer a rigorous college preparatory program to its high school students as it opens a new addition that will accommodate more than 400 students under one roof.

The public charter school, where students learn both Chinese language and culture while also completing a curriculum that meets the state’s education standards, was accepted into the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme earlier this year.

Principal Kathleen Wang said in an email that the international program will allow students to graduate with both a Massachusetts high school diploma and the International Baccalaureate diploma, which is recognized around the globe.

The four-story, 38,000-square-foot addition — which more than doubles the size of the school’s Hadley campus — will provide classroom space for children from kindergarten through 11th grade.

Please read more here.

NPR: A year in the life of a Mandarin immersion Kindergartener

August 13, 2015

Kindergarten is a huge moment in a child’s life. So imagine if your parents sent you to a school where they teach most of the day in a language you don’t speak, like Spanish or German or Japanese. In California, a growing number of families are choosing schools like this. It’s called dual-language immersion. Reporter Deepa Fernandes followed the Gomez family this past year as their daughter, Gemma, attended a public school that teaches in Mandarin.

Please read (and listen) here.

Updated School list — We’re up to 197 Mandarin immersion schools

August 9, 2015

You can see the full list here:

As always, if your school is not listed, or is listed incorrectly, please refer to the list of questions below. Answer as many of them as you can and email  to me and I’ll update the list. If you don’t know all the answers, don’t worry. We’d rather list a school even with a few boxes empty!

Note there are tabs on the list. The first page is U.S. schools, the second Canadian and the third International.


School Name

School District name



State/ZIP (Province/Posale Code in Canada)


Grades at school


Date the Mandarin immersion program began (Kindergarten only, not preschool)

Percentage of the day taught in Mandarin/English.

Whole school or strand within a school?

Do you teach Simplified or traditional characters? [you can tell if in the word for school they write it 学校 (simplified) or 學校 (traditional)]

Number of classroom in Mandarin per grade.

One-way or two-way immersion?

Website address.

Other languages offered? (i.e. some schools have multiple immersion strands.)

Is the school art of the Flagship – Chinese Acquisition Pipeline consortium?

Getting kids going in Mandarin–in Singapore

August 9, 2015

Singapore is about 75% ethnic Chinese, but that doesn’t mean that people actually speak Chinese at home. School is taught in English, though all students take a second language, either Malay, Mandarin or Tamil. The original system presumed that kids were coming from non-English speaking households and needed to learn English, while getting literate in their home language. But it’s now quite common for kids to come from English-speaking homes where their theoretically ‘home’ language is in fact a second language. So now private language-immersion preschools are starting to pop up there, to give kids a start in their “mother tongue” as Singapore likes to call it.

It’s all quite fascinting.


Early start in learning Mandarin

British housewife Fiona Ratz believes the early exposure to Mandarin helped her daughter Amy (in red), a Primary 2 pupil, do well in the language.

Five-year-old Soo Song Xuan spoke almost no Mandarin two years ago.
His parents, businessman Soo Wee Kiat, 40, and Ms Vanessa Wong, 40, a personal assistant, used to converse with him mainly in English at home.

Worried that he would be unable to catch up with the mother-tongue subject in primary school, Ms Wong transferred him last year to EtonHouse International Education Group’s Chinese-language immersion programme that is run at its branch at 223 Mountbatten Road.

The group piloted the programme for two nursery classes there three years ago. Classes including those on literacy, numeracy and arts are taught entirely in Mandarin.

Just a year into the programme, where Song Xuan and his peers would spend about six hours every day with a Mandarin-speaking teacher, Ms Wong says she could see a vast improvement. “Now, he talks to us in Mandarin about half the time at home.

He loves Mandarin pop songs and enjoys doing his Chinese homework. When we go to the library, he would want to borrow Chinese books.”

Please read more here.

Arizona Mandarin program going strong

August 9, 2015

Gavilan Peak Mandarin Program Students Illustrating Academic Achievement, Intellectual Growth

Elizabeth Medora ~ Staff~ 5/6/2015

ANTHEM – Problem solving and critical thinking are some of the most important skills students can put into practice. The Gavilan Peak Mandarin program is helping to teach students these life skills.

Gavilan Peak School is completing its fifth year of free Mandarin education this school year; Mandarin partial immersion and basic Mandarin classes are free at Gavilan Peak. School staff reports that students of Mandarin have been showing high achievement across the academic field as they employ the skills they are learning in Mandarin classes.

“Students who are in the immersion program have developed outstanding problem solving skills,” noted Kimberly Cash, Lead Teacher/Mentor of the Mandarin Project Staff at Gavilan Peak. “When learning any new language, students have to be very focused on what the teacher is trying to convey to them; therefore, they must be able to think about the words, and make connections in order to understand the content.”

Please read more here.

An immersion 6th grader takes a family trip to China

August 9, 2015

Florence boy finds practical use for his classroom lessons at Chinese Immersion Charter School


Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
(Published in print: Thursday, May 21, 2015)

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NORTHAMPTON — When 12-year-old Hunter Palm visited China for two weeks in April with his mother and grandmother, the locals, hearing him speak Chinese, asked: “How long have you been living in China?”

“Hunter was our interpreter, thank goodness,” his grandmother, Jody O’Brien, said at her grandson’s home on Maple Ridge Road in Florence. “If we hadn’t had Hunter, we wouldn’t have been able to ride the bus or order food.”

For O’Brien, 79, a nurse from East Longmeadow, the trip was her sixth assignment with Global Volunteers, a service organization that sends volunteers abroad. On previous trips, she has volunteered as a nurse in a public health clinic in Mexico and worked with children with disabilities in an orphanage in Romania. She has also worked in schools in St. Lucia, the Cook Islands, and the Chinese city Kunming.

This time, her daughter Kelly Palm and grandson, a sixth-grader at the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School in Hadley, came with her. The three generations taught English to students at the Xi’an Biomedical Technical College, in Xi’an — a city of over 8 million in central China’s Shaanxi province.

Please read more here.

Conference on Chinese literacy in the spring near San Francisco

August 9, 2015
CLEF 2016: April 15-16
Literacy: The Core of Global Competency

More Information available here.

CLEF 2016 will take place at the Westin San Francisco Airport Hotel on April 15-16. The conference theme is “Literacy: The Core of Global Competency”. Please save the dates and join us!

Save the Date for CLEF 2016The Chinese Language Education Forum (CLEF) is an annual conference dedicated to bringing together PreK-16 teachers, scholars, administrators and other professionals in the field of Chinese language education worldwide to share best practices, research findings and inspiring ideas. This conference will provide you with all you need to thrive in your Chinese classrooms and programs.

CLEF 2016 “Call for Proposals” will be open soon


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