Second year of Chinese immersion in southern Washington state
Year two of Mandarin Chinese Immersion Program begins in Naselle
By NICK NIKKILA
NASELLE — A Mandarin Chinese immersion program successfully launched at Naselle-Grays River School District for kindergarten and first grade students last year is expanding to include second grade.
The expansion comes after the Naselle School Board voted in May to provide up to $25,000 to continue the immersion program this school year. Helping pay for this are grants from the College Board and the Teachers of Critical Language Program.
The two new Mandarin teachers arrived shortly before the start of this school year. With two months of teaching at Naselle, it’s time to get to know them and their perceptions of their host community.
Ms. Xie Fen, 1st grade Mandarin immersion teacher
Xie Fen (pronounced “She Fong”), or Michelle as she is called at the Naselle school, was born and raised in Hunan province in southern China. As is the case in much of China, she comes from a small family made up of her parents, now retired, and her brother. She lives in the neighboring province of Guangdong, formerly known as Canton. Now single, she has a 13-year-old son, Wang, Yifeng (Andrew) who is currently in the 7th grade in China and lives with his father. According to Xie, “He is a handsome and cute boy and I love him very much.” Knowing she would be away from her son for up to a year made coming to the U.S. a very difficult decision, but she felt the experience would make her an even better teacher upon her return to China.
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