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Broadway Mandarin Immersion in Venice, CA – A parent’s perspective

December 18, 2012
A mural at Broadway Elementary School, one of three Mandarin immersion programs within the LAUSD school district.

A mural at Broadway Elementary School, one of three Mandarin immersion programs within the LAUSD school district.

One Parent’s Experience with the Broadway Mandarin Immersion Program in Venice, CA

By Frank Han

The morning sun was just breaking the horizon in the far distance, but it was still dark and cold inside our house. It was time to lift my daughter out of her comfortable bed, still asleep, and place her gently in our car, which was carefully prepared the night before. Morning snacks for the one-hour drive to her school. Check. Lap table, pencils, crayons so she can finish her homework in the car. Check. Clothes, socks, shoes, jacket. Check. Backpack with snacks, lunch, and water bottle. Check. Porta potty for when it’s time. Check.

We live about an hour from Venice, CA, where the Broadway Elementary School, now in its third year of having launched the Mandarin Immersion Program, is located. That’s one hour, one way. We learned about the program about a week before school was about to start and considered enrolling our oldest daughter, now 6, in the following 2013-2014 school year, as there was already a long wait list and growing. However, over the weekend, Principal Susan Wang who is leading the charge of seeing this program succeed, contacted us and miraculously offered us a spot in the 2012-2013 Kindergarten class.   We jumped at the opportunity and up-ended our lives by foregoing enrollment in our walking-distance, top-rated, well-funded, Las Virgenes district elementary school and chose Broadway Mandarin Immersion instead. And we are certainly not the only ones who decided to do so, as other parents also daily brave the Los Angeles rush hour commute coming in from as far as Porter Ranch (over 30 miles away), Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Hollywood among many other far-away places.

Now in its third year, the Broadway Mandarin Immersion Program has largely settled into a routine. As is often the case, the pioneering class, now second graders, were the ones blazing the trail, wading into the unknown, trying and failing, trying and succeeding, setting the stage for classes to come and hopefully improve upon the program. And for that, this year’s Kindergarten class is grateful and indebted to these pioneers. Now, an established Mandarin Immersion Program in its own right, we are happy to see our child blossom under the guidance of Principal Wang and the tutelage of both the English and Mandarin teachers, who have crafted a wonderful and academically challenging program to mold our children into better citizens of the world.

After all, Broadway’s Mandarin Immersion Program’s mission is to: provide an intellectually challenging, standards-based curriculum in English and Mandarin. Students will not only become bilingual and biliterate, they will also become self-confident learners, creative thinkers, problem-solvers, and productive global citizens with a respect for cultural differences.

But there are changes ahead. Next year, our program, which now spans four Kindergarten classes and even has been asked to expand to six (not likely due to resource constraints – not due to the lack of demand), will need to move out of our current school facilities in Venice, CA. So we will no longer be known as the “Broadway” Mandarin Immersion Program. A new name is still TBD. A new facility, however, has been found and committed to. The program will co-locate with Marina Del Rey Middle School and will have its own geographic boundaries carved out and tucked away within that campus. So there will be new challenges to face, new bumps in the road to manage, but also new opportunities to take advantage of.

Whatever the new name of our program will be, we are honored and grateful to be participants, contributors and most of all, beneficiaries of it, and are looking forward to seeing our other two children follow in our oldest daughter’s footsteps.

For more information about our current program, please visit: http://www.broadwayelementary.org/mi

As I write this, my heart is still broken by the unspeakable events at Sandy Hook Elementary and my thoughts and prayers go to all those affected by this horrible day. May you find rest and comfort in anything that will help you heal.

 

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. suzanne permalink
    December 27, 2012 6:08 pm

    I am amazed at the long commutes and commitment parents are making for MI!

    What is the third MI school in LAUSD? Besides Broadway, there is City Terrace but I can’t find any info on another one. Are there any City Terrace MI parents here? It’s closer to me than Broadway but there is so little info online about it compared to Broadway.

    • elizabethweise permalink*
      December 27, 2012 6:38 pm

      There are three in Los Angeles:
      City Terrace Elementary School
      In East Los Angeles, this school’s Mandarin program launched in 2007-2008 and is now a fully-built out K – 5 program.
      Escalar Elementary
      In the middle of LA’s China town, this program launched in 2011-2012.
      Broadway Elementary

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