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Cleveland Mandarin immersion school opens

July 24, 2016

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History will be made this school year when the “Global Ambassadors Language Academy” opens its doors to students.

The school, known as “GALA” for short, is the first dual language immersion school in Northeast Ohio. The first day of school is Aug. 3.

School administrators held an open house for students and parents today. Students will not only learn the core subjects, but also Spanish or Mandarin, an offer that is very attractive to parents.

Please read more here.

National Mandarin immersion survey closes Friday

July 19, 2016

If you haven’t had a chance to add your voice, please do so. We’ll close the survey on Friday.

Beth Weise & Jeongwoon Kim

Ten Lessons for Language-Immersion Programs

July 9, 2016

From: Education Week

Language immersion programs are on the rise and are proving to be impactful—especially as a strategy for addressing issues of equity. Considered to be the most innovative way to teach students a language, teachers only use the target (second) language in the classroom to teach most, or all, curricular content. Among world language program offerings, immersion is producing the best results, especially among younger students.

Recently, Nancy Rhodes, Language Education Consultant, Center for Applied Linguistics, presented to the Chinese Early Language Immersion Network (CELIN) Leadership Forum on the lessons she learned through interviews with sixteen top immersion language specialists. Here I share these lessons as well as examples from immersion programs across the country.

Please read more here.

Southern Calif. Mandarin program letter

July 1, 2016

Letter: Mandarin Immersion Program Not Centrally Located

DP logoSusanne Dachgruber, Capistrano Beach 

There have been troubling developments for families in the southern part of the district that have their children enrolled in the Mandarin Immersion Program (MIP) at Bergeson Elementary School in Laguna Niguel. MIP was founded by a San Clemente parent, and in 2011 when the program was approved by the CUSD Board of Trustees, one of the stipulations was that it be accessible to all CUSD residents, and therefore be centrally located. This highly successful program will enter middle school next year, but where will it go? On April 13, the CUSD district staff recommended that the program go to Newhart Middle School in Mission Viejo, which doesn’t provide equal access, is the most northern of our middle schools, and doesn’t allow for a feasible drop-off/pick-up time between schools for families with multiple children. This will lead to families having to drop out of the program. To the relief of the 88 percent of families in the program that live central or south, the board voted 5-2 for Niguel Hills Middle School upholding their promise of equal access. Prior to their vote, keeping a centralized location for the program received public support from San Clemente Mayor Hamm, former Dana Point Mayor and current Council member Carlos Olvera, as well as several other council members, local clubs, businesses and residents from our southern cities.

Please read more here.

Get your school’s new parents ready for Mandarin immersion

June 29, 2016

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As incoming Kinder parents begin to think about how this Mandarin immersion thing they’ve signed up for is actually going to work, many programs around the nation are getting them a copy of A Parent’s Guide to Mandarin Immersion as a one-stop reading guide to language immersion.

Both schools and parent associations have purchased copies for their new parents, or as a sale item to support their programs. The books can be purchased in bulk much more cheaply than buying them through Amazon.

As a parent of two daughters who’ve been in Mandarin immersion programs at two different schools for a total of 17 years now, I wrote A Parent’s Guide as the how-to manual that I wished I’d had when we started this process.

Many schools have found that by giving copies of the book to parents early on (sometimes even before school starts) they can spend more time building a great school and less time explaining the nuts and bolts of immersion. Informed parents, teachers tell me, are calmer and more empowered parents.

A Parent’s Guide covers:

• How immersion works in the classroom
• The benefits of bilingualism for the brain
• Chinese 101 for immersion parents
• The academic possibilities immersion opens to students
• Chinese literacy issues
• The six types of Mandarin immersion families
• Why schools offer immersion
• How parents can turbo-charge their children’s Chinese

What the experts are saying:
   “Weise combines journalistic writing talents with a longstanding interest in Chinese language learning to offer current and prospective parents an engaging and informative guide to Mandarin immersion education in the U.S. This handbook serves as an excellent resource– chock full of news and information about how to get the most from your child’s Mandarin immersion experience.”
     Dr. Tara W. Fortune, Director, Immersion Projects, Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, University of Minnesota
   “If you’d like to understand the dynamics of Chinese immersion education, look no further. Beth Weise is a prescient and astute guide through this often confusing and misunderstood world. Her book is required reading for parents, administrators, and practitioners–a major contribution to the field.”
     Chris Livaccari, Chinese Program Director, International School of the Peninsula, Palo Alto, California
   “This book addresses issues of concern not only to parents but anyone involved in Chinese language education. It provides amazingly complete information and statistics about Chinese immersion programs. Painfully honest, it tells us about school and school district politics surrounding the implementation of these programs. Weise’s insights make it a must-have guidebook for anyone interested in Chinese immersion.”
     Dr. Christy Lao, Professor of Education and expert on second language acquisition at San Francisco State University, California
So here’s the deal for schools:

If you order 25 or more books, I can have them dropped shipped to your school for $12 a copy. If you order 50 or more they go down to $11 a copy. And, as one program did, if you buy 100 they go down to $10 per book.

Some PTAs have bought them and then sold them at the regular price of $18.95 as a fund raiser as well.

If your school is interested, please contact me at weise (at) well (dot) com


A YA book (in English) that could be a good read for teens

June 29, 2016
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I got an email a bit ago from a writer who’s also the adoptive mother of a Chinese son. She’s got a young adult novel out that might be of interest to Mandarin immersion students.
From the book blurb:
Thirteen-year-old Chinese adoptee Cal Vandiver resides in California with his adoptive parents, plagued with an ever-present fear of being “taken,” exacerbated by his uncharacteristic blue eyes and extraordinary athleticism. Cal and his band of friends discover someone really is watching him. What happens next thrusts his under-the-radar existence into the spotlight, forcing him to a place that’s anything but safe as he trains for the 2020 Olympic Games.
The Blu Phenomenon was read and studied this school year in a South Carolina school (Honors Program) and the author visited the class and lead discussion. A guest visit could also be available to classrooms via Skype.
The book’s a suspenseful read, even as it covers key people and events in China’s history. In addition, the book has been endorsed by national figures, including Harry Wu, America’s foremost China human rights activist, and Susan Soonkeum Cox of Holt International Children’s Services.

You can check out more about the book here:
Press Release:
Q & A with

Cleveland, Ohio Mandarin immersion charter opening Fall 2016

June 9, 2016

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Public language immersion school set for August opening

A bilingual dream five years in the making is about to become reality for Global Ambassadors Language Academy (GALA) founding director Meran Rogers.

Rogers’s new foreign language immersion school will open its doors on August 3, welcoming approximately 100 kindergarten and first-grade students to the former St. Vincent de Paul parish at 13400 Lorain Avenue. For its first iteration, the school will occupy only the ground and first floors of the 30,000-square-foot facility. Administrators expect classes to expand to the building’s second floor in coming years as GALA adds additional grade levels, up to eighth grade.

Fresh Water first reported on plans for the tuition-free, public charter school in October 2014. The effort has come a long way since then and the school has been hosting monthly open houses since February to show off its new digs and champion an educational model based around Spanish and Mandarin programming. This month’s open house events are scheduled for Thursday, June 9 at 5 p.m., and Saturday, June 11, at 10 a.m.

Please read more here.


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