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Alaska’s only Mandarin immersion program saved from the chopping block

December 4, 2022

Anchorage School Board says immersion programs will not be cut to save money

By Lex Yelverton, Anchorage Daily News

Published: Nov. 16, 2022

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – In a major update on the budget cuts that the Anchorage School District is considering, the Anchorage School Board announced that the district’s language immersion programs will not be axed.

At Tuesday night’s school board meeting, the support was overwhelming in favor of saving the immersion programs. More than 100 people signed up for public testimony, with a majority of them trying to save the language programs.

However, before they could speak, the president of the school board made an announcement.

“After our work session today, we have decided to take immersion off the list for this year,” ASD School Board President Margo Bellamy said.

Please read more here.


A letter from a parent prior to the announcement:

Letters to the Editor to the Anchorage Daily News

Letter: Support immersion students

By Danielle Igtanloc and Cody Morris

Published: November 17, 2022

We are parents of a student who is enrolled in the Scenic Park Elementary Chinese Immersion program. We are highly disappointed to hear that immersion programs are being considered for discontinuation due to budget cuts. Our daughter has several friends in different immersion programs within the Anchorage School District who share her joy and enthusiasm for being an immersion student. Removal of these programs impacts our daughter, her peers, the families of the students, and the community.

As parents, we are concerned about the ethical and moral lessons removing immersion would teach our daughter and students in similar positions. By choosing to cut immersion programs based on budget, we would be teaching these students that their commitment does not matter. The quality time invested in going beyond the minimum education requirement does not matter. More importantly, we would teach them that cultural diversity and knowledge do not matter.

Please read more here.

More about the program here, from the Asia Society

We’re up to 280 Mandarin immersion schools in the United States!

November 22, 2022

I’ve just updated my Mandarin Immersion school list, which you can click on here. Below please find the most recent updates to the list, including additions, changes and deletions. As always, if you find an error, please contact me so I can correct it.

School changes

November 2022 update:



Hidden Valley Elementary in Chino Hills, CA, east of Los Angeles. The program began with Kindergarten in the fall of 2022.

Pasadena’s Mandarin immersion program has now reached high school. The program begins at Field Elementary, then feeds to Sierra Madre Middle School and finally reached Pasadena High School.

Cornerstone school in Palo Alto offers Kindergarten through fifth grade Mandarin immersion. I have emailed to ask them when the program began and whether they teach Simplified or Traditional chracters.

San Diego’s Pacific Beach Middle School continues the Mandarin immersion program that begins at Carver Elementary. The program then feeds to Mission High school.                     


International School of Denver, private K – 8. Was Colorado International School


Rigby, Idaho’s Jefferson Joint School District extended its Mandarin immersion program to high school in the 2021-2022 school year. The program begins at South Fork Elementary, continues at Rigby Middle school and follows through at Rigby High school.


The Batesville Community School Corporation in Batesville, Indiana this year built out its Mandarin immersion program to middle school. The program begins at Batesville Primary School, Kindergarten through 2nd grade, then feeds to Batesville Intermediate School, 3rd through 5th grade. This year it continued to Batesville Middle School with the first 6th grade class.


Greenville Middle School (added 2019) and Greenville High School (added 2022) in Greenville, Michigan as the program in the Greenville Public Schools in this rural western Michigan program begins its high school portion. I don’t have full information on what the high school program consists of.

The Mandarin immersion program at Zeeland Christian School will continue at Holland Christian High School.

North Carolina:

In North Carolina’s Chapel Hill area, the Carrboro City Schools have two grade schools with Mandarin immersion strands, Cox Mill Elementary and Harrisburg Elementary. They now feed to the newly-built Roberta Road Middle School.


The Mandarin immersion program in Eugene, Oregon, which launched in 2017 in Kindergarten, has now reached sixth grade. The entire program has moved into Kennedy Middle School and the district is working to create a K – 8 school at the new 2200 Bailey Hill Road site. A shout out to the principal, Jennifer Hebard, who took the time to email me and update about the move!

South Carolina:

Music Math Multilingual Christian Academy offers Mandarin immersion for Kindergarten through 5th grade. The school began as Charis Learning Center in 2019 and was revamped as a Christian Mandarin immersion school in 2022.


The Jordan School District’s Mandarin immersion program now include 10 schools. Students at the high school level do not begin their bridge program until 10th grade, so not all programs are available in all listed school as some schools don’t yet have 10th grade students.

The Utah model follows this progression:

            K – 6                Mandarin immersion

            7 – 8                Mandarin immersion

            9                      AP Language and Culture

            10 – 12            Dual Language University Bridge Program                

            Eastlake Elementary

            Foothills Elementary

            Monte Vista Elementary

            Southland Elementary

            Oquirrh Hills Middle School

            South Jordan Middle School

            South Hills Middle School

            Riverton High School

            Herriman High School

            Bingham High School

            Mountain Ridge High School


International Friends School in Bellevue, Washington launched its first Kindergarten class in 2020-2021, its first 1st grade in 2021 and its first 2nd grade in 2022. The private school began as a preschool but had always planned to become a K – 8 immersion school over time.



3E International School in Beijing. A Mandarin/English 50.50% immersion school in the Chaoyang District. The private school was founded in 2005.


Epsom International School, in Malaysia. This “British inspired” boarding school added a Mandarin immersion track last year. Classes are taught in English and Mandarin.


Oakley Elementary, in the Fulton County School District in Georgia, appears to have closed its Mandarin immersion program. The district has three Spanish immersion schools but no longer lists a Mandarin immersion program. In 2017 the Atlanta Journal Constitution ran an article about the program

In Rhode Island, the Pawtucket School Department no longer appears to have a Mandarin immersion program at Potter Burns Annex.

Seashore Academy, Newport Beach, CA. This says it’s Mandarin immersion but they don’t seem to have any indication that 50% of the academic day is spent in Mandarin. My guess is that they just offer a Mandarin class.

Maylan Academy, Decatur, GA. This had originally said it would be a K – 8 but now appears to be only a preschool.

2021 changes



            Newark High School


            Newark, DE

Christina School District’s Mandarin immersion program began feeding to Newark in the 2021-2022 school year. 100 students started Chinese immersion in kindergarten and 47 continued into high school. Most of them took the AP Chinese exam in the spring of 2022 and will then have the option of taking college-level courses at the high school, from teachers trained by the University of Delaware to give college-level instruction and then are designated as adjunct faculty members.


Colorado International Language Academy

0 – 5

Colorado Springs, CO

This fell off the list. Originally it was Global Village Academy charter school in Colorado Springs. It changed its name and management model and beginning July 1, 2019 will be the Colorado International Language Academy. The school was part of the Global Village charter collaborative but is now an independent charter school.



The International School of Denver and Denver Montclair International School merged in 2009, so I’ve removed Denver Montclair International School from the list.

Colorado International School

            No longer seems to exist.


Due to student attrition, two Delaware school districts are discontinuing their Mandarin immersion programs. I haven’t yet removed the schools from the list because the programs haven’t yet been closed, but it is coming.

As of the spring of 2022:

Students in second through sixth grade in the Colonial School District will continue in the program through eighth grade, but no new students are being admitted, and kindergarten and first grade students will return to traditional programming in the fall, according to Nneka Jones, Colonial’s assistant superintendent.

With fewer students enrolling at the kindergarten level and older students steadily dropping out, Red Clay stopped admitting children to its Chinese immersion program at Linden Hill Elementary last fall. The program will continue until current students finish fifth grade, Shaw says.

See here for more info.

April 2022 – ADDITIONS


Balboa School

K-12, private

Escondido, CA.

Opened 2020 (still checking this to confirm)

North Carolina

ILIM (International Multi-Language Immersion

601 North Polk Street, Pineville NC 28134

K – 5

The site says the school teachers in four languages, Mandarin, English, Spanish and Arabic. It’s not clear what part of the school day takes place in Mandarin.


Baton Rouge International School

Founded in 2000, the school, which offered immersion in Spanish, French and Mandarin, is closing at the end of the 2021-2022 school year. The headmaster said a COVID-related drop in enrollment is behind the closure.

March 2022 – ADDITIONS


Avenues: Silicon Valley

K – 8, private. San Jose, CA.

This is the first West coast outpost of New York’s Avenues: The World School, which opened in 2011. It’s opening a middle school first, grades 6 – 9, a rarity in new schools.

Bell Tower School

K-8 Private, Alhambra, CA

ShuRen School

San Jose Campus

San Jose, CA 95125

            Long in Berkeley, is opening a San Jose campus 2022-2023

Santa Fe Computer Science Magnet School, Monrovia Unified School District

148 West Duarte Road, Monrovia, CA

The Middle School the district’s MI program feeds to.

Frontiers Academy

Has moved from Anaheim to nearby Costa Mesa, California

Kennedy Middle School

The Mandarin immersion program of the Redwood City School District, which begins at Orion Alternative Elementary School (formerly John Gill Elementary) reached sixth grade and moved to Kennedy Middle School in the 2021-2022 school year. The program will continue at Woodside High School in 4 years.


Lakes International Language Academy

K-12 charter school, Forest Lake, Minn.

Started 2004-2005, also has Spanish immersion track

North Junior High School

6 – 8, opened 2013-2014 school year, St. Cloud, Minn.

This is the continuation of program at Guang Ming Academy @Madison Elementary

Apollo High School

9 – 12, St. Cloud Minnesota

This is the continuation of the Mandarin immersion program that begins at Guang Ming Academy. The first cohort arrived in the 2017-2018 school year.

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

Private,K-5, Manhattan.

Launched in 2017-2018. Also has Spanish immersion track


Harriet Tubman Middle School, 6 – 8

Portland, Oregon


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.


Bel-Red Bilingual Academy

0 – 8, Bellevue, Washington

Launched 2019-2020


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 school outside Raleigh, NC had planned to open this fall, but COVID-19 made that impossible. They haven’t given up but it’s been a rough year.

101 Preston Executive Drive, Cary, NC 27513

Opening 2021-2022

Location not yet determined

April 2021

Science Language and Arts International School

9 Hanover Place, Brooklyn, NY 11201

(718) 636-3836

K – 8

Two immersion programs, French and Mandarin

Founded 2011, Mandarin track began in 2020-2021.

Rondo Elementary School, Eastvale, CA

New K – 5 50/50 Mandarin immersion program beginning in the fall of 2021.

International School of San Antonio

French and Chinese immersion preschool, ages 2 – 12.

They plan to add a Mandarin immersion track beginning in Kindergarten which will continue through grade school in the 2021-2022 school year.

Brilliant Star Montessori School, Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands

This Montessori school goes through 6th grade and offers some form of Mandarin immersion, though it’s not entirely clear what from their website. The school itself was founded in 2000. I can’t tell when Mandarin was added. It’s certainly the only Mandarin program in this U.S. Commonwealth. It is near Guam in the Philippine Sea.

Not immersion

Brooklyn Global Prep, Brooklyn, NY

This is a preschool through Kindergarten school that appears to have opened in 2020. It has It doesn’t yet have an elementary school program so I’m not including it on my list but note it here as it seems they might build up into a grade school at some point.

Dallas International School

They’re really a French immersion school that offered Mandarin classes

Founded in 1987, Dallas International School is the only private international school in Dallas offering a fully bilingual French and English program that also includes a third language in Spanish, Mandarin and German. With its internationally renowned curriculum and multiple language instruction, the school prides itself on a small class size approach, offering students the exposure to diverse cultural views through a rigorous, premiere educational experience. From Pre-School to 12th grade, Dallas International School prepares students for academic competitiveness thanks to its successfully-proven hybrid education system between a French and American-based curriculum. Offering an attractive French Immersion Program (FIP), Dallas International School gives non-native French speakers the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the French language with the goal of becoming fluent and compelling as strong candidates for college and university placements once they graduate from high school (12th grade). The school also offers a strong Spanish, Mandarin Chinese and German language program. Dallas International School is committed to guiding students to lead fulfilling lives and become global leaders of tomorrow.

For more information, please visit:

June 2020

Fremont, CA Mandarin immersion program

The program is building out!

“For the 2019/2020 school year, we have 14 classes; 2 each for grades kindergarten through sixth grade at Azevada Elementary School. Additionally, there are 2 seventh and 1 eighth grade class at Hopkins Jr. High School. We also have 17 students enrolled in the 9th grade at Mission San Jose High School. In total, there are about 400 children in the program now. According to the latest survey of parents representing 69% of the children in the program, 73% of the families speak English, 15% speak Mandarin, and 9% speak Cantonese as primary languages at home. 59% of the families surveyed also speak a second language in the home at least 10% of the time.”

Cherrywood Elementary School

San Jose, CA, Berryessa Union School District

Launched in 2018-2019

Oberlin Magnet Middle School

Raleigh, NC

The middle school continuation of the Wake County Public School System’s Mandarin immersion program which begins in Stough Elementary School.

Oak Meadow Elementary School in El Dorado Hills, California has changed its name to Buckeye Union Mandarin Immersion Charter School.

St. Michael’s Catholic Academy

Flushing, NY. Mandarin program launched in 2013.

Emanuele Elementary School, New Haven Unified School District, Union City, California.

New program to start Fall 2020.

Fifer Middle School

Caesar Rodney School District

Continuation of the program that began in Simpson Elementary in 2013.

The first middle school class,6th grade, began in 2018.

Westdale Middle School, Baton Rouge, LA. It will launch in 2020-2021.

This is the continue of the program at Baton Rouge Foreign Language Academic Immersion Magnet, which launched in 2013.

Centner Acadamy, Miami, Florida. A private K- 8 school which launched with a preschool and Kindergarten in the fall of 2019.

Haven Elementary School, Savanna, GA. Launched fall 2019.

East Light Academy, a charter school in Charleston, SC, has closed.

Why isn’t Whittle School & Studios on the list?

This new school, which launched in Washington DC in 2019 and plans to open in New York, lists “Mandarin immersion” as one of its educational offerings. However it doesn’t appear that it actually offers more than Mandarin classes taught entirely in Mandarin. Which is how all languages are pretty much taught these days, so it’s not a big deal. It doesn’t appear to teach any actual subjects in Mandarin. And neither does it offer 50% of the school day taught in Mandarin. Thus, it’s not a Mandarin immersion program by the standards of educations (See the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition for more info.)


March 2020


Yi Hwang Academy of Language Excellence

Suwanne, Georgia.

Also offers Korean immersion.

New Address:

East Link Academy Charter School, Greenville SC

December 2019


North Harnett Primary School, Angier, NC, public, K – 2

Orem High School, Alpine School District, Alpine, Utah, public

Little Tiger Immersion School, Austin, Texas, private K – 5

AXIS International Academy, Ft. Collins, Colorado. Charter, K – 5.

Tessa International School, Hoboken, NJ. Adding a Mandarin immersion track 2020-2021

Appoquinimink School District, Odessa, Deleware,

  • Kindergarten: Spring Meadow Early Childhood Center (2020)
  • Grades 1-5: Old State Elementary School (2021)

Center Academy, Miami FL private,  K – 12


Global Village Academy, Ft. Collins, Colorado. See article here:

August 5, 2019

Global Village Academy charger school in Colorado Springs has changed its name and management model and beginning July 1, 2019 will be the Colorado International Language Academy. The school was part of the Global Village charter collaborative but is now an independent charter school.

June 17, 2019


Shelyn Elementary, Rowland Heights, CA

June 1, 2019

Mark Twain Middle School

            Feeder school in Los Angeles Unified School District for Broadway Elementary Mandarin immersion program

Belvedere Elementary School, Aiken, South Carolina

            The district is also adding Spanish and German immersion at two other elementary schools.

Ms. Lam’s Montessori School, Brooklyn, NY

            Launched an elementary school program after having had a preschool program for several years.

May 22, 2019


Wilson Elementary School, San Gabriel, Calif. A K – 5 program opening 2019-2020.

Socratic Language School, Washington D.C. A K – 5 private school that launched 2018-2019.

May 13, 2019


Chinese Immersion School, Eugene Oregon (name change, was Crest Elementary.)

Kennedy Middle School, Eugene Oregon (announced, the first class from the elementary program won’t arrive until 2022)

Churchill High School, Eugene Oregon (announced, the first class from the middle school program won’t arrive until 2025)

Remove: Empower Charter School, San Diego. It was supposed to launch with both a Spanish immersion and Mandarin immersion track, but appears to only have a Spanish immersion track.

May 10, 2019


Sierra Madre Middle School, Pasadena, California

San Miquel Elementary, LAUSD

Rigby Middle School, the continuation of the Mandarin program begun six years ago at South Fork Elementary School in Rigby, Idaho

Orangewood Elementary West Covina Unified, CA

Lots of Utah additions:

Horizon Elementary

Hurricane Intermediate

Lava Ridge Intermediate

Sunrise Ridge Intermediate

Tonaquint Intermediate.

St. George, Utah

Mueller Park Junior High School, Bountiful, Utah

North Park Elementary in North Logan is no longer the host school for the Cache County Chinese DLI. It has been moved to Cedar Ridge Elementary in Hyde Park. 

Timberline Middle School, Alpine, Utah

Vista Heights Middle School, Saratoga Spring, Utah

Adele Young Intermediate School, Brigham City, Utah

Alta High School, Sandy Utah

Corner Canyon High School, Draper, Utah

Brighton High School, Cottonwood Heights, Utah

Taylorsville High School, Taylorsville, Utah

Cottonwood High School, Murray, Utah

Fiddlers Canyon Elementary Cedar City, UT

Springville Junior High School, Springville, UT

Bonneville High School, North Ogden, Utah

(additions as of Jan 25th)

1 middle

1 high

January 2019


Hope Chinese Charter School, Beaverton, Oregon

New address

International Charter School of Atlanta

Only got through 8th grade. The original plans to be K – 12 have changed.



Adobe Bluffs Elementary School, Poway Unified School District, San Diego

AXIS International Academy, Ft. Collins, CO (opening Fall 2019)

Camelot Prep, Orange, CA K – 12 Private

Chief Sealth International High School 

This is the high school portion of Seattle Public Schools’ Mandarin immersion program. It begins at Beacon Hill Elementary and Dearborne Elementary schools, continues at Mercer Middle School and then finishes at Chief Sealth. [Note: Sealth is pronounced See-ELTH. And he was indeed the Salish chief after whom the city was named.]

Columbia River High School, Vancouver, Wash. The Mandarin immersion program that began at Franklin Elementary School in the 2009 – 2010 school year continued to Jason Lee Middle School, Vancouver, Wash. where its first cohort began in 2015-2016. The cohort arrived at Columbia River High School in 2018-2019. Vancouver’s program offers only a Mandarin language course in middle school and high school, no subjects are taught in Mandarin, making it only a semi-immersion program past 5th grade.

Cornerstone Mandarin Immersion Program, Palo Alto, Calif.

East Point Academy Middle School, West Columbia, South Carolina  — The middle school portion of this Mandarin immersion charter began in 2018-2019 and is in a different building.

Jason Lee Middle School, Vancouver, Wash. The Mandarin immersion program that began at Franklin Elementary School in the 2009 – 2010 school year continues to Lee, its first cohort began in 2015-2016. Vancouver’s program offers only a Mandarin language course in middle school and high school, no subjects are taught in Mandarin, making it only a semi-immersion program past 5th grade.

Pacific Academy, K – 12, Irvine, Calif.

Plantation Elementary School in Lafayette, La. Has changed its name to Cpl. Michael Middlebrook Elementary 

Polis Montessori World School, private, New York City

Springbridge International School, private K – 8, Campbell, Calif. Offers Mandarin and Japanese immersion.

International Additions:

No. 28 Primary School in District 5  in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

            This is an elementary and possible middle school (K-8, I think) in Argentina.  The only information I could gather was from a news article here

Luyanzi College Kampala, Uganda

            This is a school that teaches Mandarin and may be immersion. While it’s called a college, what I can glean from its website and the article about it online makes it seem as if it’s more a high school-college, which isn’t uncommon in many parts of the world. But not fully clear. It has a website, though it’s not always up. There’s also an article up about it here.

Stamford American International School, Singapore

K – 12 school that offers a bilingual Mandarin /English track.

Singapore American School, Singapore

Began offering a Mandarin immersion track in 2017-2018


UC iPrep Charter Academy, Los Angeles      

            Closed abruptly on August 22, 2018

Worldspeak, Los Angeles

            Removed as a parent told me it is only preschool and Kindergarten. Waiting to hear back from the school.

Silicon Valley International School


Hope International Education Foundation, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

            Didn’t end up opening.

Not sure on:

Int’l Montessori Academy, Bellevue WA



Ms. Lam Montessori School, Brooklyn. Was preschool only, now adding K – 5.



  • East Light Academy opens in Charleston, SC. This is a sister school to East Link Academy in Greenville, SC, and I believe also to East Voyager Academy in Charlotte, NC.
  • Ms. Lam School, private K – 8 in Brooklyn, NY. This is the first U.S. outpost of a school with 5 campuses in Taipei in Taiwan.
  • International Montessori School, Durham NC. Had Spanish and French immersion. Added Mandarin immersion in the past few years. Trying to get more information.
  • Yi Hwang Academy of Language Excellence in Gwinnett Co., Georgia. Mandarin/Korean immersion opening in 2019-2020
  • Science, Language & Arts International School launching a private K – 8 Chinese immersion program in Brooklyn in 2019-2020. It has a Mandarin Pre-K in place now and a long-time French immersion program.
  • PS/IS 102Q Bayview School, Queens
    • I received a note from a parent at this school that 102Q has a new K-8 Mandarin immersion program. There’s nothing on the website to indicate it does and no one answers the phones, but that’s not uncommon with NYC schools. So, If anyone has more info on it, please pass along.


  • New name for Barnard Asian Pacific Language Academy, it’s now Barnard Mandarin Magnet Elementary School,
  • Hopkins Public Schools in Hopkins, Minn.: Xin Xing Academy now feeds to a program at West Junior High which feeds to Hopkins High School. The Mandarin program is now up to 11th grade.
  • College Gardens Elementary School’s Mandarin immersion program in Rockville, Maryland has moved to Bayard Rustin Elementary School.


  • Camelot Academy, Orange County, Calif.
    • This appears to have shifted from being a Mandarin immersion program to an arts and dance-focused private school. It also appears that the school brings in a lot of students from China to study there, unclear exactly how this interacts with its Mandarin program. I’ve asked for more information. One parent told me the amount of time students spend in Chinese is decreasing.


New address and whole school status for Jie Ming Mandarin Immersion Academy in St. Paul, Minn.


Added HOPE International in Prince Edward Island


Removed Hale in NYC, just has one Chinese class, not immersion, according to Morgan Ho.

Arizona Language Preparatory
4645 E. Marilyn Road Phoenix, Arizona 85032
Grades K-6 but expanding to 8th next year
Public Charter
The school is Tri-lingual, different grades get a different percentage but roughly 40% Mandarin, 40% Spanish, 20% English
phone: 602-996-1595
Fax: 602-344-9560

Batesville Primary School? has the old address and email for arizona language preparatory but all that information is incorrect



iPrep, a Los Angeles charter school, is launching a K-8 program.

Maryknoll School, a Catholic school in Honolulu, is launching a K -8 program. This is Hawaii’s first Mandarin immersion program.

Mawson Primary, near Canberra in Australia. Looking at their website, they offer Mandarin one day a week, so it’s unclear to me if this is true immersion. I don’t know enough about the Australian educational system to be able to tell.

Houston Mandarin immersion magnet school moved to a new address.

In Bellevue, Washington, Tillicum Middle School starting program in the fall. It’s taking students graduating from Jing Mei elementary immersion school.

Mulberry House, Hong Kong.

This starts in preschool at looks to go to only 3rd grade though it could be that it’s building out.

Linden Hill Elementary in Wilmington DE is adding an immersion program.

And some possible removals

I’ve gotten emails that the two Mandarin immersion programs in Michigan, Pattengill Academy and Oakbrook Elementary School, are no longer offering Chinese immersion programs. The school’s aren’t open for the summer so I can’t confirm this. Because of that I haven’t removed them from the list, but if anyone has any information about what’s going on there I’d be most grateful.

Mandarin immersion in Rigby, Idaho

November 22, 2022

Learning another language at a young age in eastern Idaho

Carly Flandro,

RIGBY ( – Lorena Reyes remembers feeling different when she was a kindergartner.

The daughter of Mexican immigrants, she only spoke Spanish, and there weren’t many other kids like her.

“I felt like the odd duck out, like I didn’t belong,” she said.

That feeling stayed with her until she met her fourth grade teacher – a Spanish speaker like her. Inspired and less alone, Reyes dreamed of leading her own classroom one day.

Years later, she is.

Please read more here.

And here‘s a nice story about the students going to visit Boise State University for the day.

Of course, get your kids fun Christmas presents. But maybe just one book in Chinese…?

November 13, 2022

Anyone in my house knows there will be fun Christmas presents under the tree, but that also, hiding somewhere in all that wrapping paper, there will be at least one book for each person. Because books matter and can change your life. Plus they’re fun. Talk to me about science fiction sometime and how it turned my sister into an avid reader.

So as you put together those Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanza) lists, consider dropping in at least one easy-to-read book in Chinese. Remember, you want this to be a book that your kid picks up and say, “Hey, wait, I can read this!” No dictionaries, no having to ask about words. Just a story they can follow in a language they hear at school every day.

A couple of options:

Our friends over at Mandarin Companion have easy-to-read books for middle and high school students. At this point they’re mostly re-written versions of classics, but never fear, they’re short and easy to follow. Books like Emma, “Clever, rich, and single, the Ān Mò (Emma Woodhouse) is focused on her career as fashion designer. When she tries to find a boyfriend for a new friend, her decisions bring unexpected consequences.” Or Sherlock Holmes or the Prince and the Pauper.

You could also check outpicture books that are actually easy-to-read, from the wonderfully-named Squid for Brains. The problem with most picture books for Chinese kids in China is the vocabulary is too advanced. What you want are books meant for kids coming from non-Chinese speaking households. Squid for Brains also has some books for slightly older readers here.

In the “not great art, but hey, they’re easy to read” category are two books meant for middle schoolers, “Who’s cute?” (Shei haokan?) and “Being cute isn’t enough” (Haokan shi bu gou de) from a press that’s totally focused on providing books that new language learners can read. Most of their offerings are in Spanish but these two are their Chinese offerings.

If your child it’s bored with Chinese myths and legends yet, Sinolingua has a nice series of graded Chinese readers. Their beginning books use just 150 vocabulary words.

There are of course many more. Ask your child’s teacher about good books and what level will be appropriate.

And of course, you’ll get them a few wonderful can’t-put-down books in English too, right?

Newly built middle school home to North Carolina Mandarin immersion program

November 6, 2022

By David Whisenant

Published: Aug. 21, 2022 WBTV

CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) – Cabarrus County Schools (CCS) will open their ninth middle school to the public on Monday, Aug. 22nd, with a 2pm dedication ceremony at Roberta Road Middle School. Public tours of the new facility, located at 4850 Roberta Rd, Concord, North Carolina will begin at 3pm.

The 1200-student facility, designed by Concord’s Yates Chreitzberg Hughes Architects and delivered by Construction Manager-at-Risk firm Shelco, LLC, will open to students on August 29th. The school features 190,000 square feet of administrative, dining, arts, media, athletics and classroom space.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve as the principal of this beautiful school,” said Roberta Road Principal Kristy Bullock. “The open design and collaborative learning spaces in this school support my philosophy about student learning.

“We are home to a Mandarin and Spanish language immersion program that is being phased in beginning with our 6th graders. We are also delivering instruction through the Participate Learning Global Leaders Framework. We’re very excited to watch our Raptor Family live out our motto as we “Work Hard. Grow Together. Change the World.”

Please read more here.

Yu Ming’s Oakland, CA Mandarin immersion program now has 550 students, six Kindergarten classes

October 26, 2022

[Note: This is the school featured in the New Yorker article that was published last week.]

Yu Ming Charter School was founded in 2011 in Oakland, California and was the first Mandarin immersion charter in the state.

The tuition-free public charter school is open to all residents of California and serves students from Kindergarten through 8th grade. It is ranked #7 Elementary School and #2 Elementary Charter School in California by U.S. News and was a 2019 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence and a 2020 California Distinguished School.

Last year Yu Ming leapt from three Kindergarten classes to six, and continued to field six classes for the 2022-2023 school year. In a release, the school said “These additional classes allow Yu Ming to serve more Alameda County families, and most importantly, provide access to more historically underserved families than ever before–a crucial cornerstone of our commitment to offer a transformative public education.”

This year the school also created a Dean of Student Culture, a new position created to help address the social-emotional needs that came out of the COVID pandemic, especially with the school’s youngest students.

Chief Academic Officer Celia Pascual explained in the release, “When our students came back in person full-time last fall, we quickly noticed that this group of young learners needed more support with social skills. Pre-COVID, those skills would have been learned in preschool, playdates, or simply by interacting freely with other children and adults.”

After 11 years, the school now has graduates who come back to work in its summer program when it offers a two-week Summer Boost program that provides extra support in English and Mandarin for students. New to the program this year was a team of nine volunteer alumni.

“I miss Yu Ming and I like working with children,” said Lynnsy ‘20. Alumni from Yu Ming’s four cohorts, 2019 through 2022, volunteered. “I used to have trouble and now I’m really good at English so I like helping other students,” said Ket ’19.

The school collaborates with other Mandarin immersion programs across the country to share expertise and develop innovative practices.

Each spring Yu Ming’s 7th graders participate in a two-week study tour to China. In addition to cultural and historical study around China, students spend five days with an innovative bilingual school in Ningbo, China. Using their Chinese skills in an immersive way, students develop a deeper understanding and connection with Chinese culture.

During their time in China, students:

  • Participate in Chinese middle school classes
  • Experience dorm life
  • Collaborate with Chinese 7th graders in a design-and-build challenge
  • Stay with host families to experience Chinese home life.
  • Engage in community service for a local village school

The school has three campuses:

Main Campus (Lower School): 1086 Alcatraz Avenue | Oakland, CA 94608
MLK Jr. Campus (Upper school): 675 41st St | Oakland, CA 94609
Carolyn Campus: Kindergarten – 2nd grade, 16244 Carolyn St | San Leandro, CA 94578

A New Yorker article about Mandarin immersion

October 19, 2022

Why Oakland Parents Are Flocking to a Chinese-Immersion School

The success of Yu Ming Charter School shows how our usual ways of thinking about diversity and equity in American schools are becoming outmoded.

The New Yorker

By Jay Caspian Kang

October 18, 2022

It’s a long and fascinating article that will resonate with many Mandarin immersion parents. Kang touches on something that I wrote about in my book, A Parent’s Guide to Mandarin Immersion, which I glossed as “No one puts their child in Mandarin immersion by mistake.” Read his piece and see if you agree.

Yu Ming, then, presents a different form of élite academic education. Unlike test-in magnet schools like Stuyvesant or Bronx Science in New York City, Yu Ming does not screen its students, except to insure that a certain percentage of them come from low-income backgrounds. The school is free and open to everyone in the state of California, with preference given to local students. All you have to do for your kid to receive the best education in the Bay Area is put them in a classroom where their teachers will not speak English for most of the school day. But the people who are willing to do that and push for their child to go to a charter school will always be a self-selecting group, regardless of their class or ethnic background.

Please read more here.