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Chinese, English language students learn from each other in U of Minnesota program

January 20, 2020

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This is one of the things immersion students can do when they get to college. It’s a cool program. 

Associated Press Dec 4, 2019


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — When Clare Murphy mentioned the phrase “hit the hay” in her Chinese language exchange class, some were confused and others were amused.

But Murphy thought what better way to teach American English to her fellow classmates — Chinese international students — than to incorporate idioms.

Murphy is one of 20 Chinese immersion graduates participating in a program at the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus that allows high school students to practice Mandarin in a conversational setting with Chinese international students who are studying here in Minnesota.

Please read more here.

American Councils for International Education Chinese program — just right for immersion students

January 15, 2020

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Language Flagship cuts all K-12 funding

January 13, 2020

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The Language Flagship is a national program that works to design, support and implement advanced language education. It works with colleges to create advanced language treating and learning opportunities in critical languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, and Turkish.

The Flagship network is made up of 31 Flagship programs at 21 institutions of higher education, and 10 Overseas Flagship Centers.

You can find a list of the Chinese flagship programs at 12 U.S. universities here.

The Flagship has always been important for Chinese immersion programs, giving out multiple grants that supported the growth and expansion of K – 12 programs around the country.

But no more. In a letter to parents in the Portland (Oregon) Public Schools Mandarin immersion program, coordinator Michael Bacon told parents that the Language Flagship is ending its support of K – 12 programs. Portland’s grant was the last, apparently.

The one good piece of news in this is that many Mandarin immersion programs had cut ties with their local Confucius Institute and its Confucius Classrooms program which supported Chinese teachers, at the directive of a federal law that was passed that restricted Flagship-funded programs from affiliating with the Confucius Institutes. Read more about that here. It could mean that programs can resume those affiliations.

Michael Bacon’s letter:

Dec 10, 2019

A message from Portland Public Schools

Dear Mandarin Immersion Families,

I am writing to give you an important update on the Chinese Flagship grant funding. This school year (19-20) is the last year of our current 4 year grant award. We are all set and nothing is changing in regards to the supports and commitments we have made to our programs and schools this year.

We learned this summer, however, that the National Security Education Program and the Language Flagship have made the decision to discontinue K-12 funding starting in 20-21 and dedicate all of their resources to the university programs that have been their primary function since the beginning.

PPS was the first K-12 system to receive Flagship funding in the US and is the only one receiving funding currently. 3 years ago the Language Flagship cut all other K-12 funding except for PPS. I attribute our 14-year successful ride with the Flagship to the great collaboration we had with our partners at UO and the hard work and dedication of many PPS teachers, principals, staff and of course students and parents striving to improve and make our programs work effectively here in PPS. We established a learning model to use data to drive our work and turned challenges into opportunities to innovate. When we first received the Flagship grant we were one of only 3 Mandarin immersion programs in public schools in the US. There are now over 270, many of which learned from our successes and challenges that we disseminated in publications, visitations, and presentations nationally over these many years. We have made an impact! We are incredibly grateful for the support and opportunity Flagship provided us.

I want to assure you that PPS will continue to support our Mandarin immersion programs as we do all of our DLI programs. We have been careful to use the grant funds to supplement and innovate. We have been careful to not predicate core operations of our programs on this tenuous funding knowing that someday it would come to an end. Mandarin immersion will continue to strengthen and grow in PPS well beyond the Flagship grant.

Thanks for your understanding, support and hard work as we make this final year of the Flagship grant the best one yet.

Michael Bacon

Director of Dual Language Immersion

Portland Public Schools


Immersion Education: Creating an Integrated School Culture

January 8, 2020


A brief from CELIN, the Chinese Early Language & Immersion Network

This is an interesting paper on how schools can integrate their Chinese and English sides, Worth reading for anyone in a school that deals with these issues.

It is written by Jeffrey Bissell, Head of School at Chinese American International School in San

Francisco, and Sue Berg, Executive Director, Yinghua Academy, Minneapolis, MN.

Please read the paper here.


Immersion (and other programs) help school districts compete with charter schools and private schools

December 24, 2019


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A computer science-focused early college high school could come to western Wake County

From the News & Observer

Nov. 26, 2019

In the face of increasing charter school competition, the Wake County school system wants to add a specialized high school in Morrisville and additional language immersion elementary schools across the district.

Wake County school administrators said this week they’re hoping to open an early college high school focused on computer sciences on Wake Technical Community College’s RTP Campus in Morrisville in 2021. Also that year, Wake is looking at boosting the number of elementary schools where students can take all their academic classes in Mandarin Chinese or Spanish.

“We want to offer choice for students,” Edward McFarland, Wake’s chief academic advancement officer, said in an interview after Monday’s student achievement committee meeting. “We want to offer lots of opportunities in various settings, various ways and not just in the same mold.”

Please read more here.

Fort Collins, CO parents establish new language immersion charter school

December 18, 2019

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From the Fort Collins Coloradoan

By Kelly Ragan

Oct. 22, 2018

Kari Anne Calarco didn’t grow up learning a second language. Now, as she works to learn French as an adult, she hopes to make it easier for her two young sons.

Calarco’s oldest son, 7, began learning French and some Mandarin while he attended school in Washington, D.C. When Calarco and her husband, Chris, moved to Fort Collins, they wanted him to keep learning French, so they tried another local language immersion school, but it didn’t quite fit their needs, Calarco said.

So Calarco decided to start her own. She teamed up with Jenny Whitaker to found AXIS Colorado and AXIS International Academy.

Please read more here.

And here’s another storyabout the new school.

Troubled Global Village Academy charter school in Fort Collins, Colorado has closed

December 14, 2019

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Note that the space that had been occupied by Global Village Academy was acquired by another immersion charter school, AXIS International Academy, which opened its doors in September. 

From the Fort Collins Coloradoan

By Kelly Ragan

Dec. 12, 2018

After years of turnover and turmoil, Global Village Academy in Fort Collins will have to fight to stay open after June 30 — otherwise about 177 students will have to find new schools.

On Tuesday, the Colorado Charter School Institute that oversees the school’s state charter said it would begin coordinating a closure after deeming that Global Village fell short of the mutually agreed upon conditions in its 2017 contract.

Julie Rossi, Global Village Academy principal, wrote in an email statement the school planned to appeal the decision.

Global Village Academy is one of three state-sponsored charter schools in Fort Collins. The dual language immersion school that opened in 2013 is also part of the Global Village Charter Collaborative, which includes five schools in Colorado.

Please read more here.