BCSC is first ever Indiana public school district to offer students classroom immersion program in Mandarin
Batesville Community School Corporation has been awarded just over $87,000 in grant funds to create a new dual language immersion pilot program focused on English and Mandarin Chinese. The district will be the first public school system in Indiana to create a curriculum that immerses students in the Mandarin and English languages.
The grant, awarded by the Indiana Department of Education, enables BCSC to research and develop the pilot, dual-language immersion curriculum during this school year. It will be implemented in fall 2016 with kindergarteners at Batesville Primary School.
The program enhances the district’s focus on Mandarin, a language growing in popularity in schools across the country. A course was added to the curriculum at Batesville Middle School in fall 2012 and to Batesville High School in fall 2014. Members of BCSC staff traveled to China over the past two years and hosted educators and students from the country as part of a “sister school” partnership program.
“This is great news for our district, as it is part of our 2020 Vision to have all students learn a second language,” said Jim Roberts, BCSC superintendent. “We may be located in rural Indiana, but we are always thinking globally for our students. We believe it’s important to introduce diverse cultures to our students as we prepare them for a global workforce. The earlier we introduce foreign language to our students, the greater the impact it will have in their overall academic development.”
The benefits of starting a dual language Immersion program for BCSC students go beyond just learning a second language, said Melissa Burton, BCSC director of student learning.
“Students who learn a second language before adolescence have increased cognitive abilities in many areas including creative, divergent, and logical thinking, as well as improved overall verbal skills,” Burton said. “Students in a dual language immersion program develop a greater understanding of other cultures and approach issues from multiple perspectives.”
Heather Haunert, principal at Batesville Primary, said the immersion program offers unique opportunities for students and the district. “We are hopeful this will be the start of an ongoing interest by our youngest students to learn a new language and our district can be a pioneer in the development of a curriculum in which other Indiana schools can utilize in the future,” Haunert said.
The mission of Batesville Community School Corporation to educate all students in a tradition of academic excellence, preparing them for productive and responsible citizenship in a global community. For more information about BCSC, please visit our website: http://bcsc.batesvilleinschools.com/