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Austin, Texas gets its first Mandarin immersion school

April 14, 2013

Doss.

April 14, 2013

Texas Opens Second Chinese Immersion Elementary School in Austin this Fall of 2013

By Lelan Miller

Austin Independent School District in the state capital of Texas is opening its first ever Chinese immersion elementary school this fall of 2013. Doss Elementary School will be the first Austin elementary school and the second school in the state of Texas to offer Chinese immersion. The first Chinese immersion elementary school in the state of Texas opened in Houston in the fall of 2012.

Doss Elementary School will launch the immersion program this fall in kindergarten, first and second grade with a total of 60 students already selected in a lottery last month. The Doss Chinese immersion program will use the 50/50 model for immersion instruction in which half the school day will be taught in English and the other half in Chinese. Math and science instruction will be given in Chinese while social studies will be taught in English.

Austin school administrators have prepared for the opening of the immersion school by visiting similar schools in the U.S. including the programs in Houston and Minnesota and have been attending conferences that focus in Chinese immersion program models and teaching methods.

In order to prepare the incoming classes for the new Mandarin immersion program, the principal and staff began an online blog that provides school updates, Chinese learning materials, and community resources including Chinese language summer programs being offered in the Austin community. The blog can be accessed through the Doss PTA website under One World Learning School @ Doss at  http://owls.dosspta.org/

Doss began Chinese instruction in the fall of the 2012-2013 school year through the Content Based Foreign Language in Elementary School (FLES) Model.  All kindergarten and first grade students participated in FLES lessons which support the state required educational objectives. During the 2012-2013 school year, kindergarten and first grade students at Doss received two thirty minute Chinese language lessons per week from Connie Soong who was welcomed into the Doss teaching staff in the fall of 2012.

Lelan Miller, 孟乐岚  is the founder of Mandarin Matters in Our Schools in Texas (MMOST) and master’s candidate in Chinese Language Pedagogy

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