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St. Michael’s Catholic Academy in Flushing, NY celebrates Chinese New Year

November 29, 2021

This is from last year, but as St. Michael’s Catholic Academy is one of only four religious Mandarin immersion programs I know of, it’s interesting to see what they’re up to.

As part of their celebration of Catholic Schools Week, students at St. Michael’s Catholic Academy in Flushing observed the Chinese New Year with a variety of age-appropriate lessons and activities in their classrooms on Friday, Feb. 12.

The activities included studying Chinese artwork, the 12 Chinese zodiac animals, cultural and food traditions, as well as crafting lanterns and making dumplings.

Please read more here.

Los Angeles area district graduates tri-lingual students

November 18, 2021

By: Leah Pezzetti May 28, 2021

LAKESIDE, Calif. (KGTV) – A couple dozen of the seniors getting ready to graduate from El Capitan High School in June are not only wrapping up their high school careers, but a lifetime of unique cultural and language studies.

The Grossmont Union High School District partners with Lakeside Union School District elementary schools in a program called the Global Language and Leadership Program, which teaches children Spanish and Mandarin starting in Kindergarten, resulting in bilingual and trilingual high school graduates.

Please read more here.

Just how well do Mandarin immersion programs do?

November 4, 2021
Bryce Canon

The short answer is, we don’t really know all the way out to high school. I haven’t seen any national studies looking at how students do when they reach the end of high school.

Anecdotally, motivated students in districts with strong programs seem to do well, but how do students do overall? It’s the perfect project for someone getting a Ph.D. in education (hint hint) but so far I haven’t seen any studies on it.

Which makes this news snippet out of Utah all the more interesting. Parents in St. George (near Zion and Bryce Canon) are upset because too few of their high school are passing the Advanced Placement test for Chinese Language and Culture.

Harmony Vanderhorst, a local parent with three children involved in Chinese immersion classes, said the rate of students passing the 10th grade exams to demonstrate their Chinese fluency was extremely low.”

“The ball has really been dropped with the Chinese program,” Vanderhorst said. “There are some huge gaps that need to be addressed. I think the program has amazing potential, but it definitely needs to be readdressed.” 

See the full article from the St. George News here.

I’d be curious to hear how students in your school district do when they get to high school and take the AP exam. Feel free to comment below.

Read more here.

New York’s Avenues to open a Silicon Valley campus Fall 2022.

October 20, 2021

Avenues: The World School, which includes Mandarin and Spanish immersion strands, is opening a California outpost in San Jose. The for-profit school network has schools in New York, São Paulo, Brazil and Shenzhen, China. The San Jose school had planned to open this year but due to COVID-19 will be opening next year instead. It’s already purchased a building in the city and has hired much of its staff. It’s to be called Avenues: Silicon Valley, and the school plans to open in the fall of 2022.

550 Meridian Ave Campus for Avenues World School birds eye view.

SAN JOSE (KPIX) — A New York private school plans to launch a location in San Jose, raising the benchmark for expectations and tuition.

The Avenues, headquartered in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan, has finalized the purchase of 550 Meridian Avenue, a 77-thousand square foot, three-story office building in the midtown area of San Jose, in a $27 million all-cash transaction.

Read more here.

And another story here. And here. Here’s a story about the network’s flagship school in New York.

Cleveland’s Global Ambassadors Language Academy offers the only Mandarin immersion program in Ohio

October 5, 2021

Language Immersion Elementary School Fostering Young Global Ambassadors

By Taylor Bruck Cleveland

March 16, 2021

CLEVELAND — Some native English-speaking children in northeast Ohio have the unique experience of attending school where all their work is in another language, and they absolutely love it. 

What You Need To Know

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in the United States, only about twenty percent of Americans are fluent in two or more languages
The Global Ambassadors Language Academy (GALA) in Cleveland is working to increase that percentage
GALA is started in 2016 and is currently a K-6 school but will expand with each graduating class until they become a K-8th grade school
GALA is currently enrolling students, you can learn more at

“On my mom’s side, there is my grandma and grandfather that do know Spanish and I want to continue learning so I can speak Spanish better,” said 7-year-old Ilana Little, who attends the Global Ambassadors Language Academy.

The school, also known as GALA, is the only Mandarin immersion school in Ohio, and the first dual language immersion school in northeast Ohio.

Please read more here.

Mandarin immersion school list updated: 343 schools open or opening within another year

September 27, 2021

I’ve updated my list of Mandarin immersion schools in the United States. We’re now up to 343 schools that are either open now or will open by fall of next year.

You can click this link to see the full list.

Here are school changes on the list, which I last updated in July:

October 2021 – ADDITIONS


Bell Tower School

K-8 Private, Alhambra, CA

Avenues: Silicon Valley, San Jose CA K – 12, opening 2022-2023


Lakes International Language Academy

K-12 charter school

Started 2004-2005, also has Spanish immersion track

246 11th Ave. S.E.

Forest Lake, MN 55025

Phone: 651-464-0771

New Jersey

Maurice Hawk Elementary School, West Windsor, NJ.

Program launched 2018-2019 school year. Has now reached 4th grade.

New York

Pine Street School



25 Pine St.


New York NY 10005

Also has Spanish immersion track


Tooele Junior High School, Tooele, Utah

Program reached 7th grade in the 2021-2022 school year.

The program will continue at Tooele High School in the 2024-2025 school year.


CY Middle School

Casper, Wyoming

Program progressed from grade school 2019-2020


E.E. Waddell Language Academy, a K-8 public school in Charlotte, NC, has changed its name to South Academy of International Languages (SAIL)


Horseshoe Trails Elementary School

At the end of the 2020-2021 school year the Cave Creek Unified School District closed the Mandarin immersion program at Horseshoe Trails, which was founded in 2015. It has just gotten to middle school. More here:

Unable to open

CE Academy

This charter had hoped to open the fall of 2021 but COVID-19 proved too large a hurdle. There’s still some hope it might open for 2022 but unclear at this time.

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival (Time to eat some moon cakes!)

September 22, 2021
A care package of moon cakes sent off to a college freshman.

For folks who didn’t grow up in families that celebrated what’s properly called the Mid-Autumn Festival, here’s a little background.

It’s that time of year again, when hockey-puck but delicious cakes appear in shops, students learn poems and people gaze at the moon and think of far-away loved ones.

It’s a traditional celebration held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month in the Chinese calendar, when the moon is at its fullest and brightest of the year. This year it’s September 21, 2021.

There are many stories about the festival centering on the Goddess of the Moon, Chang’e 嫦娥 and her husband the archer Houyi 后羿, who are only allowed to see each other once every year on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, when the moon is full.

At it heart, though, the Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest celebration. Just like at Thanksgiving, families try to be together for the holiday.

There is plenty of symbolism for the holiday that is about the full moon. The moon is round, symbolic of the family coming together. It’s popular to eat a family meal together called tuán yuán fàn 团圆饭 or “reunion dinner.”

If the family can’t all get together, they they all look at the moon and think of those who are not together with them knowing they’re all looking at the same moon.

In China people exchange lyrical text messages talking about how they wish they could be together. You can find some examples here.

It’s also a time to eat moon cakes. In my family we tend to call it “the festival of moon cakes.” These are dense treats consisting of a thin pastry coating over a disk of (generally) sweet red bean paste or lotus seed paste. Lotus seed paste is very sweet and something like the Chinese equivalent of marzipan.

Inside that sweet filling in many moon cakes is a single, hard-cooked, salted yolk from a duck egg. The saltiness of the yolk contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the filling, or at least it does for me. Some moon cakes feature two yolks, which seems like too much for me but your taste may vary. But perhaps more importantly in a culture enamored of symbolism in food, the egg yolk is thought to look like the full, round moon. Moon cakes are cut into thin wedges and typically served with tea.

Moon cakes have become an important present to give during the weeks around the Moon Festival. Go into any Asian supermarket and you’ll find the front of the store piled high with stacks of different types and price points, depending on the quality and how fancy the packaging is. While sweet red bean paste and lotus seed paste are the most common, you’ll also find nut-filled, pineapple and melon (these are vile, I’m just warning you.) There are also smaller silver dollar-sized moon cakes that are more single serving.

This year we can’t go visit family and friends. But we can send texts, look at the moon and know that they, too, stand under the same moon. We’re all in this together.

And if you’d been wondering how moon cakes are made, here are some cool videos:

How mooncakes are made

Making traditional mooncakes

Mooncakes: What they are and how they’re made

Explaining the mooncake