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Mass. Mandarin immersion school flourishes

March 22, 2016

Chinese Immersion Charter School Continues Growth Pattern

The Language of Business

Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School

Richard Alcorn has not forgotten the frustration he felt when he owned a business that imported goods from China and had to communicate with non-English-speaking customers on the other side of the globe.

“There were times when I spent 45 minutes or an hour with an interpreter only to realize they had absolutely no idea what I was talking about,” he told BusinessWest.

That experience, combined with the fact that Alcorn’s wife, Kathleen Wang, wanted their children and others to be prepared to work in a changing, global economy, led the couple to establish Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School (PVCICS) in Hadley. It was important to them because both Alcorn and Wang were involved in the Massachusetts Initiative for International Studies, a statewide initiative to instill more international focus into K-12 education.

The school opened its doors in 2007 to kindergartners and first-graders, and today boasts roughly 440 students from 39 communities in kindergarten through grade 11. The continued expansion led the couple to outgrow their space, and last year the school was enlarged with a 40,000-square-foot addition.

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