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Phoenix students receive their lifelong Chinese names in special ceremony

October 24, 2018

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Most Mandarin programs have a special ceremony for the day when students receive their Chinese names. It’s very sweet and something of a tradition in many schools, marking when you really enter into Chinese culture. And of course kids who already have Chinese names are included as well.  

CCUSD kindergartners receive an official Chinese name

It is never too early to prepare American students for the global economy! Kindergartners in the Cave Creek Unified School District’s Chinese Immersion program received their official, lifelong Chinese name during a celebratory naming ceremony.  From this point forward, these 5-6 year olds will use their Chinese name when they are on the Chinese classroom side of the program (50% of the school day).

World Language Program Coordinator, Cristina Ladas, often hears students calling each other by their Chinese name on the playground, “It very much becomes a part of their identity when they are exposed at such a young age.”  Cave Creek Unified School District has placed an emphasis on developing language proficiency in Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and French from PreK-12th grade as a way of building better critical thinkers, ready to tackle the world!

Please read more here.


Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School has 69 Kindergartners on wait still, still trying to expand

October 19, 2018

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Chinese Immersion school seeks to expand into Chicopee, other towns

From: The Reminder

BOSTON – The Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School has filed an application with the The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESI) to expand into a number of communities, including Chicopee.

DESI made the announcement recently. The Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School is one of five existing charter schools that submitted requests to expand enrollment.

DESI will decide by mid-September which applicant groups it will invite to submit full proposals for new schools. The final decision on the applications will b e made between December 2018 and February 2019.

Please read more here.

From The Daily Hampshire Gazette

Twice denied by state, Chinese charter takes another swing at expansion

HADLEY — The Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School has yet again requested that the state’s education board grant the school permission to expand.

The charter school submitted an expansion request in 2016 that was recommended favorably by then-Commissioner Mitchell Chester, but the board denied the request in a 7-2 vote.

Alison Bagg, director of the Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign, explained in a March 2017 letter that the school should delay submitting another expansion request until it addressed several of the education board’s concerns. But the school filed a similar request, and was again denied this spring.

“You’ve got to hear this board,” Chairman Paul Sagan said after the board chose not to take action on the school’s expansion request this March. “We like your school. We like the educational opportunities you provide. But we’re not persuaded that doubling capacity works for the system.”

In its latest request, the charter school is asking the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to allow an increase in maximum enrollment from 584 students to 952. The school’s previous requests had asked for a maximum enrollment of 1,036.

“The PVCICS Board of Trustees wishes to make this change to satisfy persistent unmet demand for Kindergarten seats, expand opportunity and choice for urban, suburban and rural students to attend desegregated/integrated public schools, and increase the integration of staffing in public education,” the expansion request reads.

A letter on Aug. 1 from Executive Director Richard Alcorn to the education board states that the school has received 69 applications for the 44 additional kindergarten seats requested in the latest application, which would expand kindergarten from two to four.

Please read more here.

But it’s all quite political, as you’ll see below:

From: The Greenfield Recorder.
Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Comerford knocks charter school expansion plan

Jo Comerford, candidate for State Senate in the Hampshire, Franklin, Worcester district, has come out against the most recent request by the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School to expand enrollment:

“I am extremely dismayed that the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School is once again seeking permission to expand its enrollment. This recent expansion request could not come at a worse time.” she said in a statement “Just last week, negotiations to fix the flawed education funding formula that plagues municipalities across the state — and especially in our district — fell through, leaving our public schools dramatically underfunded and in continued jeopardy.

“We simply cannot afford an increased charter school budget drain.

Please read more here.

Lansing, Mich. uses Mandarin immersion to keep families in the district

October 14, 2018

People sometimes say to me, “Come on, do district really add Mandarin immersion just to draw in or keep families?” Oh yes they do. Here’s a recent example:

Lansing’s Post Oak Elementary draws students from other districts

From the Spartan Newsroom at the Michigan State School of Journalism

In its quest to keep students from moving away, the Lansing school district is expanding one of its most attractive programs: The Chinese immersion program at Post Oak Elementary.

At Post Oak, half the day is taught in English, and the other in Mandarin Chinese.

Ann Jones, the international baccalaureate program coordinator for Post Oak, said every class has two teachers, one for English and one for Mandarin. They work closely to coordinate curricula.

Lansing schools recently passed a $120 million bond, and part will help Post Oak build an addition. The school is adding seventh and eighth grade, and the addition will accommodate new students.

Please read more here.


And here’s some more on Lansing’s magnet schools.

Magnet schools exert their pull on Lansing students


Spartan News

A student who loves to act doesn’t have to wait until graduation to grab hold of their dream. The engineers and the health specialists don’t have to stand by until college to begin polishing their areas of expertise. An interest in international language doesn’t have to be delayed until adulthood. Lansing magnet schools allow for immediate immersion into specific interests.

How did they get started?

A parent’s decision on where to send their child for K-12 education is influenced by countless factors: socioeconomic status, location and high school graduation rates—just to name a few. The Michigan Department of Education requested back in the ’90s that intra-district schools of choice be implemented.  The goal was to give parents and students the freedom to choose between different schools in their own district.

Lansing took advantage of this opportunity. According to Dr. Eva Lois Evans, the retired deputy superintendent in charge of instruction, the district expedited intra-district schools of choice. Evans was on the front-lines of this decision, helping each school select and embrace a specific focus. Concentrations included visual, performing and communication arts, biotechnology and international studies. These allowed students and their parents to choose an ideal career path.

Please read here for more.

Atlanta immersion school doubles in size, adds Mandarin

October 8, 2018


As it doubles the physical size of its primary school with a new building addition, the Atlanta International School is also adding onto its language programs with a new Mandarin Chinese track. 

The private school in Buckhead announced Sept. 4 that the new Primary Learning Center, which houses grades K-5, opened as the new school year began. 

The center doubles primary-school space and adds 20 new classrooms, along with a cafeteria and multi-purpose space. The building occupies three floors centered around a courtyard, with two grades assigned to each floor. 

About 100 new primary-school students joined the school this year. 

The new space helps make room for a new Chinese program, which joins French, Spanish and German offerings for primary school students. 

Please read more here.

America needs more Chinese teachers, but U.S. immigration policies may make it harder to get them

October 2, 2018

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While demand for Chinese language education is on the up, stricter rules on immigration may make it harder for schools to find enough qualified teachers

From the South China Morning Post

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 September, 2018
Every year Sharon Huang, founder of HudsonWay Immersion School, anxiously awaits October.

That is when she will learn if several of the Chinese language teachers at her primary schools will be able to carry on teaching or if they will be forced to leave the country midway through the semester.

“It’s very stressful on everybody,” said Huang, who runs two schools in New York and New Jersey. “We’ve had teachers who were denied visas and then very shortly thereafter they had to uproot their lives. It’s sad for the kids and the whole school community.”

Huang files around half a dozen applications to upgrade her teachers’ temporary graduate visas into something more permanent.

But each year a couple of those will not make it through the H1B visa lottery system.

Though H1B visa sponsorship is expensive, the process is a problem for the growing number of American schools offering a Chinese immersion curriculum, where elementary students take at least half their classes in Mandarin and teachers are typically native-level speakers.

Please read more here.

LA Mandarin immersion charter closes abruptly

September 27, 2018

From: The Los Angeles Times

On the fourth day of its second school year, an Eagle Rock charter school closed its doors this week, leaving parents and students disappointed, angry and tearful — and bucking the usual narrative of ceaseless charter growth.

PUC iPrep Charter Academy had dual-language programs in English and either Spanish or Mandarin — the sort of offerings that are usually popular. But it was in an area with too many good school options, and it enrolled too few students.

It may or may not have been a factor that the school was part of Partnerships to Uplift Communities, the group of charter schools co-founded by Ref Rodriguez, who resigned from the Los Angeles Board of Education in July after pleading guilty to criminal charges related to his campaign for office.

The school aimed to enroll 275 students this year, although the organization told parents it would try to make things work with 200. But by Wednesday, it had only 114 students — and PUC’s board voted to shut it down.


Please read more here.

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Dear PUC iPrep Families,

The PUC Schools Board of Trustees unanimously voted tonight, August 22, to close PUC iPrep Charter Academy because enrollment in the first days of school fell far short of what was needed to be financially sustainable. The board made this difficult decision now to ensure our families could find the right school for their children for the 2018-2019 academic school year. This decision means that the campus will be closed effective Thursday, August 23, 2018.

The decision came on the heels of our collective efforts to do everything in our power to keep the doors open. We are humbled by the families who supported this school and rallied to reach the enrollment needed to keep it open. We know this news is disappointing for you as it is for all of us.

We had committed to keeping the school open with 200 students, but as of today, August 22, we had 114 students attend school. Enrollment is the largest source of funding for the school and with this level of enrollment, the program is not viable. With so few students, it’s impossible to continue to operate and provide the types of programs that the students deserve.

We remain committed to your families and are here to help during this transition. There are high-quality public schools nearby. We have compiled a list of local elementary and middle school options. Click here for the list of local elementary schools. Click here for the list of local middle schools.

Please email or call (323) 287-8485 if you have any questions or would like to obtain information about student records.

For media inquiries, please contact

Thank you for your support and for welcoming us into the community. It has been an honor serving your children.

Charleston, SC Mandarin immersion charter school faces closure 1 month after opening

September 22, 2018

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From: The Post and Courier

By Paul Bowers

Low enrollment, financial woes and staffing problems could spell the end for East Light Academy, a Mandarin-language charter school that opened in the Charleston area just one month ago.

Small headcounts can lead to financial disaster for charter schools, which receive funding from the state on a per-pupil basis. The school’s leaders proposed a charter school with 381 students, budgeted assuming an enrollment of about 180, and told The Post and Courier enrollment was at 150 on opening day, Aug. 20.

In reality, only about 50 students showed up on that first day of school, according to an email that went out to parents last week.

Please read more here.