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Palo Alto parents ask for middle school component of Mandarin immersion program

August 16, 2014

Parents urge board to consider middle school Mandarin immersion program

Group hopes to bridge gap between Ohlone program and high school courses

Then first-grader Kira Sterling reads a book in Mandarin at Ohlone Elementary School in 2009. Photo by Shawn Fender/Palo Alto Online.

A group of six Palo Alto parents spoke to the Board of Education during a brief public comment session at its annual retreat Wednesday, making passionate, personal pleas for the district’s Mandarin immersion program to extend into middle school.

The parents submitted a proposal in February and are asking that the board institute this fall a middle school level pilot version of the once controversial and now successfulprogram at Ohlone Elementary School, which began as a three-year pilot program in fall 2008. Since then, about 132 students have enrolled each year, with about 22 students in two sections each of three combination-grade classes, according to district Communications Coordinator Tabitha Kappeler-Hurley.

Please read more here.

Beth’s comment: It’s really unconscionable to have a Mandarin immersion program that only runs through fifth grade. It’s like cutting it off at the knees, as just as the kids are hitting their stride in Mandarin the cease getting any instruction.

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