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Just a reminder, our kids aren’t the only ones learning Chinese

March 21, 2017

Though as long-time China correspondent for NPR Anthony Kuhn notes in this story, he’s being studying and working in China for almost two decades.

It’s worth clicking to see the clip of him asking his question in Chinese – and then reading about how the mere fact that a foreigner is fluent made him an online sensation.




Bilingual workers in high demand

March 14, 2017

Which job seekers are in hot demand? Bilingual workers.

Multilingual medical assistant Kaissa Oulhadj worked at work at Boston Medical Center.


Multilingual medical assistant Kaissa Oulhadj worked at work at Boston Medical Center.

Help wanted: people who can speak more than one language.

Even as the Trump administration seeks to limit immigration, employers are increasingly looking to woo immigrants as consumers — and employees.

Banks and cellphone providers are hiring employees who can communicate with potential customers in their native tongues. Software firms are seeking out translators and customer service representatives who can help them build their business around the world. And health care providers looking to serve the immigrants in their communities, as well as patients traveling to the United States for medical care, are beefing up their staffs with people who can understand, and convey, their concerns.

Please read more here.

London to finally get a Mandarin immersion school

March 8, 2017

Is 2014 a group of parents attempted to create the United Kingdom’s first Mandarin immersion program. To be called the Marco Polo school, it was to launch in 2014 as a “free school,” the English equivalent of a charter school in the United States. The authority that oversees such schools eventually decided it wasn’t inclusive enough, scrapping the project to the distress of parents.

Now a private school has taken on the same project and is set to open in the fall of 2017 in the the west London district of Kensington.

Called Kensington Wade, the school will offer a 50/50 model from preschool through middle school, or age 13. It will cost about $12,500 per year.

[note that the Independent’s headline is a little misleading. There is already a Mandarin immersion school in Europe, but it’s in Hungary so the Magyar-Kínai Két Tanítási Nyelvu ́ ́ Általános Iskola is a bilingual Chinese-Hungarian school, not a bilingual Chinese-English school.]

Europe’s first ever bilingual Chinese-English school to open in London

Founders of new Kensington Wade prep school and nursery say learning Chinese ‘prepares children for the new century’

  • Rachael Pells Education Correspondent
  • Tuesday 18 October 2016 17:43 BST
Click to follow
The Independent Online

The first school in Europe to teach all its students in both English and Chinese is to open in London next year.

Founders of Kensington Wade, a dual language independent prep school, say children as young as one will be taught in Chinese, and all those who attend the school will leave fluent.

Please read more here.

Other stories here and here.

Updated Map helps you find the Mandarin immersion programs near you

March 5, 2017

Nathan Yeung, a computer scientist and web developer, has update his most excellent program for finding where on a map the closest Mandarin immersion programs are.

You can now go to and type in a ZIP code and get a nice map showing you all the Mandarin immersion programs within a radius of between 5 and 20 miles.

Here’s one for the Seattle area:


And here’s New York:



Whole-school public Mandarin immersion program opens near San Francisco

February 16, 2017


West Contra Costa Unified, a school district, based in Richmond, Calif. (just north of Berkeley) will be opening a whole-school Mandarin immersion school in the fall of 2017.

The school will have a whopping 72 seats for Mandarin immersion, three full Kindergarten classes!

But don’t just take my word for it. See their great press release below. (And thank you to Richmond for doing putting out a press release. You’d be surprised how difficult it can be to find out any information about new MI programs, districts often seem to pass out a flyer and then rely on word of mouth. So hooray for Richmond, on multiple levels!)



Marcus E. Walton

Communications Director

West Contra Costa Unified School District

510.231.1151 voice / 510.205.3092 mobile / 510.236.6784 fax /





MEDIA CONTACT: Marcus Walton

For Immediate Release 510.231.1150
February 16, 2017



RICHMOND—Students in the West Contra Costa Unified School District will be offered an opportunity to learn the world’s most spoken language at a new school scheduled to open in August, increasing the number of educational options available for local families.

The Board of Education this week approved a Mandarin Dual Language Immersion program to open in August 2017, on the site of the Serra Adult School in Richmond. It will be the 58th public or private school teaching Mandarin in California and one of just four public schools in the state to offer the language in a schoolwide program, according to the Mandarin Immersion School Parents Council.

“Adding a Mandarin language immersion program expands academic opportunities for our students,” Superintendent Matthew Duffy said. “The research shows that such programs enhances student learning for all students. The Board and I have made improving the academic outcomes for students our top priority and providing additional opportunities for students to become bilingual is one way in which we plan to address the academic needs of this District.”

The school will educate students beginning with three kindergarten classes opening in time for the 2017-2018 school year. Additional grades will be added in subsequent years. Students who choose to attend the program would begin in kindergarten with 90 percent of instruction taking place in Mandarin.

In addition to the 72 kindergarten seats available in the Mandarin school, the district is also adding 24 kindergarten spots in its Spanish language immersion program at Washington Elementary School in Point Richmond for the Fall of 2017.

While English is the language spoken by academics, businesspeople, aviators, and other global professionals and is the world’s third most popular language, Mandarin is the world’s most spoken language with more than one billion native and second-language speakers.

The Mandarin program will utilize the simplified script.

For more information on the Mandarin immersion program, please visit or contact Eric Peterson at (510) 307-4641. Applications for the new school are being accepted through the District’s Transfer Office. The Transfer Office can be reached at (510) 307-4535.





About West Contra Costa Unified School District

West Contra Costa Unified School District serves a diverse student population of some 29,000 students at 52 schools in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. The belief that all students can achieve at high levels of proficiency and that the effects of institutionalized racism can be mitigated is central to how equity is viewed in the District. As a Full Service Community Schools district, WCCUSD works with its community partners to provide the resources necessary to achieve educational success, well-being and self-efficacy for students, families and communities. Among other initiatives, the District has embarked on ensuring that every school has a college-going culture supported by the resources necessary to ensure that students are eligible for, and successful at the college of his or her choice. For more information, visit the District website, Facebook, Instagram orTwitter.



Marin county wants a Mandarin immersion program

February 8, 2017

Marin county, just north from San Francisco across the Golden Gate bridge, doesn’t have any Mandarin immersion programs. That’s surprising, given that there are more more than a dozen in the greater San Francisco bay area. Clearly some parents would like that to change, and one Mandarin-speaker is suggesting they turn to charter schools to get on as local school districts don’t seem interested.

Marin Voice: The case for bilingual education — why not Mandarin Chinese?

In November, Californians voted yes on Proposition 58 with almost 73 percent support, lifting restrictions on bilingual education for English language learners and authorizing school districts to establish dual-language immersion programs for both native and non-native English speakers.

This was an important win for parents who want their children to begin learning a second language at an early age.

Dual-language immersion is a method of teaching in which the learners study subjects such as math, science and social studies in a second language. Studies suggest that immersion is the most effective way to learn a foreign language, and that the critical window for learning is between birth and about 10 years of age.

Please read more here.

Kansas getting its first Mandarin immersion program

February 2, 2017


The Sunflower State is getting its first Mandarin immersion program.

The Blue Valley School District, one of districts in the Kansas City metropolitan area, is opening an entirely new, whole-school Mandarin immersion program in the Fall of 2017.

The school, for now known only known as Elementary 23, will be home to a Kindergarten through fifth grade, 50/50 Mandarin immersion program with 60 students per grade.

Having a school district create a new Mandarin immersion program and give it not only its own building, but a newly built one – and make it a stand-alone school rather than a strand within a school – is something most programs can only dream of.

There’s ample evidence that whole-school programs, where the entire school takes part in the MI program instead of only a few classes being part of a larger, English-only school, is highly advantageous.

It’s exciting to see Blue Valley launch such a big, bold program at a time when other districts keep making programs deal with the difficulties of being a strand.

I’ll keep you posted on what I hear about the program.