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Catholic Mandarin immersion school in New York supports Asian students

August 18, 2021

St. Michael’s Academy Battles Hate and Fosters Healing Through Asian Studies 

June 23, 2021
By Paula Katinas

The Tablet

WINDSOR TERRACE — At a time when attacks against Asian-Americans have risen more than 300% in New York, educators at one Queens Catholic school are using Asian-themed curricula to help students learn not to hate.

Administrators in some local K-12 schools are being urged to introduce lessons in Asian history and culture as a way to battle stereotypes and increase understanding of Asian contributions to American life.

They might want to pay a visit to St. Michael’s Catholic Academy in Flushing to see how it’s done.

St. Michael’s — where 70% of the students are Asian — has been offering an immersive American-Asian education for eight years. That means students have just as many classes in Mandarin as they do in English, and learn about Asian history and culture.

“We’re a dual language immersion school. Our Mandarin is aligned with New York State standards,” said Principal Maureen Rogone, who explained how it works at her school.

“In primary grades, if I’m teaching about plants and animals in English, I’m also doing it in Mandarin,” she said. 

Sister Mary Ruan, the outreach coordinator at St. Michael’s Academy, said parents there are excited.

“I speak in Chinese to them and they feel comfortable. They think, ‘I can communicate very well with the school.’ I tell them, ‘We are here to help you.’ They feel respected,” she said.

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