Portland’s newest Mandarin immersion program doing well
For The Oregonian
May 29, 2015 at 2:54 PM
By David Sarasohn
First graders, having recently escaped from Sesame Street, spend a lot of time working on shapes and colors. So last week in inner Northeast Portland’s King School, 10 first graders were working, with intense concentration, to puzzle out the differences between a triangle, a circle and a square.
Except everything they’re saying, and everything written on the wide sheets of paper in front of the class, is in Chinese.
Nobody ever got to that stretch of Sesame Street.
This Wednesday’s Junior Rose Parade will feature a new entry: several dozen inner city kindergartners and first graders who are immersed in Chinese. It’s the first year of the King program, and the first time anything quite like it has surfaced in this neighborhood.
As parade entries go, it beats a clown car.
Portland Public Schools already had one Chinese immersion program, at Southeast Portland’s Woodstock Elementary School, with a sizable Asian student population. The King school program was spurred by a Chinese language program at nearby Albina Head Start, with teachers from the Chinese government’s Confucius Institute. Ron Herndon, head of Albina Head Start, pushed hard for an elementary school Chinese immersion program for AHS alumni.
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