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New York Mandarin immersion school seeks headmaster

January 21, 2019

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I don’t normally post job openings, partly because there would be so many and partly because Mandarin immersion teachers are so hard to find that it’s kind of evil to poach a teacher. That said, principal positions don’t come open very often, so it seems a slightly different thing and appropriate for someone looking to move up. The school has both a Mandarin and a Spanish track. 

HudsonWay Immersion School

HudsonWay Immersion School (HWIS) has the reputation as the “best Mandarin and Spanish immersion program in NYC and NJ” due to its unique full immersion model, early start in preschool, teacher training and immersion leadership.   Reflecting that reputation, the school’s mission is to develop students as flexible thinkers, culturally aware and linguistically capable in at least two languages.


HWIS, serving children ages 2 to Grade 5, is the oldest independent Mandarin and Spanish immersion program in the NY/NJ area with two campuses – one on the upper west side of Manhattan, and one in NJ.  The school is poised to more than double enrollment growth with recently-obtained funding to expand and relocate the NY school in September 2019, and with the recent NJ move to a newly renovated Catholic school in NJ this past September 2018.  The school has also announced plans to grow in grades through grade 8 by 2021.


The new educational director/head of school will report to and partner with a board consisting of three owner investors.  Two of the owner investors are the original founders having started this school for their own children 13 years ago.  The third investor joined HWIS in late 2018 to support the NY expansion. Initially the role would focus on the education and operations of the school, expansion to middle school grades 6-8, development of after school clubs and building the parent community. The roles of finance, legal, HR, marketing and admissions would be outside the scope of the role.  It is believed that in 2-4 years the role would expand to include these functional areas and evolve from Educational Director to Head of School.


Educational Director/Head of School

The Educational Director (ED) is a leader who is a strong collaborative builder of people, possesses pedagogical high standards, and is passionate about the benefits of immersion education.  The ED will oversee two locations:  Stirling, NJ and NY, NY.  Reporting to the ED will be a team of assistant directors with both significant and newly acquired immersion experience.  The position will be subject to a bi-annual review by the school founders.


The successful candidate will possess many of the following experiences and skills:


  • MA in Education related field (Administration, Curriculum & Instruction, Linguistics, etc.)
  • Prior administrative experience in a leadership role in an independent school
  • Prior teaching or administrative experience with an immersion school
  • K-8 and early childhood experience
  • Excellent community-outreach and relationship building skills
  • Extensive knowledge of curriculum development; new research and technology enhancements
  • Ability to create and sustain positive, ambitious school culture among staff and students
  • Ability to develop teachers- mentor, provide feedback and constructive criticism, corrective action, coaching and discipline if necessary.
  • Experience in assessment and achievement data analysis
  • Leading school in acquiring accreditation
  • Bilingual/fluent in one of the languages of instruction – Mandarin or Spanish
  • Ability to partner with HR, Accounting, Admissions, Facilities, etc. in upholding and enforcing School policies and procedures
  • Excellent communication skills– clear, direct communication with tact and professionalism
  • Highly organized and attentive-to-detail, ability to manage administrative paperwork


Personnel and Programs

  • Inspires a culture of mission-driven excellence and inclusion
  • Implements and enhances a language immersion education program that promotes an international perspective for responsible citizenry at both a local and international level
  • Manages and supervises all full and part-time staff
  • Helps formulate performance management and culture of accountability
  • Ensures that school’s curriculum and programs are evolving to meet student needs
  • Ensures that school appearance and day to day management of operations is smooth
  • Coordinate and oversee staff development and training that is aligned with New York and New Jersey State Standards, and the school’s curriculum
  • Conducts regular staff meetings
  • Designs and implements professional development workshops for all employees
  • Oversees school data reporting systems and data analysis to inform instructional practice
  • Effectively recruits and retains student population
  • Effectively recruits and retains teacher population
  • Provides input in developing the school’s long-term strategic plan
  • Oversee the development of other programs such as after school, extended care, summer camp and Mommy & Me
  • Works with high schools to develop feeder programs in support of ex-missions
  • Works with licensing regulatory bodies



  • Ensures that the school builds enrollment and retains students
  • Maintains an open-door policy for parents
  • Participates in Family conferences when appropriate
  • Articulates the school’s mission and vision to parents and the community
  • Works with the parent association




  • Oversees the implementation of the school’s annual budget
  • Tracks and assigns all purchases
  • Assures proper reporting of financials to Owners


Policies and Procedures

  • Provides regular updates to founders/investor on:
    • Policies and procedures
    • Curriculum plan and achievement
    • Parent satisfaction
    • HR plan
    • Budget updates


  • All instructional teachers; a diverse cultural and lingual employee base
  • Administrative – finance, custodial, HR, admissions (this may evolve in year 2)
  • Parent volunteers




  • Competitive salary
  • Benefits package to include vacation, health, 401K etc.



There will be an initial contract for a two-year period as Educational Director, followed by a two-year period as Head of School.  This is a Full-time 12-month position.  To start as soon as agreed upon, possibly prior to the end of the 2018/2019 academic year.


To Apply

Applicants may submit a cover letter, resume (with salary requirements) and a personal statement to:


HWIS is an equal opportunity employer and values diversity in the workplace. We actively encourage all qualified applicants regardless of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation to apply.


We regret that we will not be able to respond to every submission.  Only applicants of interest will be contacted.


Thank you for your interest in working for HWIS.


National Chinese Language Conference registration opens

January 18, 2019

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Note: I know several school districts where families raise money to send a few teachers to this conference every year, as it’s really the home for cutting-edge Mandarin immersion information.


The 12th annual NCLC will be held from May 9–11 in San Diego, California at the
Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina

The National Chinese Language Conference (NCLC) is the largest annual convening in the United States and North America that brings together leaders and practitioners in the field of Chinese language and culture education. It is dedicated to enhancing the capacity for teaching and learning of Chinese language culture by sharing cutting–edge practices and examples with educators and policymakers. Over the past 11 years, the conference has attracted over 13,300 international, national, state, and local educational leaders, school principals and teachers, and higher education faculty. Register Now »

Join us and celebrate the growth of the Chinese language field!
At NCLC 2019, you could:

Choose from more than 110 sessions and workshops, including new interactive formats such as mini-workshops, swap shop, and e-poster presentations
Hear from visionary speakers and thought leaders in the field
Network with educators in the field
Browse diverse resources in the exhibit hall
Enjoy performances highlighting Chinese culture
Sign up for preconference school visits to see local K-12 Chinese language programs in action (additional fee applies, more details to be released later)
Participate in preconference workshops, half-day/full-day (additional fee applies, more details to be released later)
Explore the rich cultural offerings of San Diego
Register now at the early-bird rate by March 7 and save.

Info here:

Lego has two great Chinese New Year sets — but they’re only sold in Asia

January 14, 2019

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Chinese New Year is Feb. 5, and Lego is ready. The Danish company is offering two Chinese New Year-themed sets. But parents in the United States won’t have seen them in stores because they’re sadly only available in the Asia Pacific region.

If you happen to have friends heading to China et al it could make a nice gift. And it might be possible to buy them on TMall and have them delivered here, though I can’t tell if that would work.

There’s also a dragon dance troupe, with an articulated dragon!

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With the other set you can create a Chinese New Year meal, complete with a whole cooked fish, dumplings and a lazy Susan.

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The dragon dance set is 599RMB (around $85) and the New Year’s Eve feast set is 699RMB (about $100).



Military spending law unexpectedly affecting Mandarin immersion programs

January 12, 2019

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A military spending bill signed by President Donald Trump in August limits funding from the U.S. Department of Defense for Chinese language programs at schools that also host Confucius Institutes, which are Chinese government-funded nonprofits that promote Chinese language and culture.

The provision of the National Defense Authorization Act requires schools to separate  Confucius Classroom teachers, who are funded by China’s Confucius Institute, from Department of Defense critical language grant-funded programs (at least I think it does, it’s a little unclear.)

Although the actual language in the bill only refers to higher education, it appears it is also being applied to Mandarin immersion K – 12 programs that have funding through the Department of Defense, probably through the various critical language programs.

Most news reports have only been about university programs, so the move took some schools by surprise.

Schools were notified last week that the separation must be complete and certified by Tuesday, January 15th. That’s causing many Mandarin immersion programs to have to remove Confucius Classroom teachers.

Here’s a good story from Inside Higher Ed explaining what’s happening.

The Bill

Here’s how a columnist for the Washington Post explained it on August 12, 2018 column:

Tucked inside the $716 billion John McCain 2019 National Defense Authorization Act that President Trump signed Monday is a provision barring any U.S. university from using Pentagon resources for any program involving Confucius Institutes, Chinese government-funded language schools embedded inside U.S. colleges. In the future, any universities that have Pentagon-funded and Chinese government-funded Chinese language programs will have to secure a Pentagon waiver if they want to keep both.


Here’s the actual bill. The section that is about the Confucius Institute is 1065.

The language in the bill


(a) PROHIBITION—None of the funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act or otherwise made available for fiscal year 2019 under this Act may be obligated or expended for Chinese language instruction provided by a Confucius Institute.

(b) LIMITATION—None of the funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act or otherwise made available for fiscal year 2019 under this Act may be obligated or expended to support a Chinese language program at an institution of higher education that hosts a Confucius Institute.

(c) WAIVER—The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness may waive the limitation in subsection (b) with respect to a Chinese language program at a specific institution of higher education if the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness—

(1) certifies to the congressional defense committees that—

(A) Confucius Institute employees and instructors will have no affiliation with the pro- gram;

(B) Confucius Institute employees and instructors will provide no instruction or support to the program;

(C) Confucius Institute employees and instructors will have no authority or influence with regard to the curriculum and activities of the program; and

(D) the institution has made publicly avail- able all memoranda of understanding, con- tracts, and other agreements between the institution and the Confucius Institute, or between the institution and any agency of or organization affiliated with the government of the People’s Republic of China; or

(2) certifies to the congressional defense committees that—

(A) the requirements described in subparagraphs (A) through (C) of paragraph (1) have been met; and

(B) the waiver of the limitation in subsection (b) is necessary for national security, and there is no reasonable alternative to issuing the waiver.


(1) CHINESE LANGUAGE PROGRAM—The term ‘Chinese language program’’ means any Department of Defense program designed to provide or support Chinese language instruction, including the National Security Education Program, the Language Flagship program, Project Global Officer, and the Language Training Centers program.

(2) CONFUCIUS INSTITUTE—The term ‘‘Confucius Institute’’ means a Confucius Institute that is operated by the Office of Chinese Languages Council International, also known as Hanban, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China.

(3) INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION—The term ‘‘institution of higher education’’ has the meaning given the term in section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001 et seq.).

Letter to Portland Mandarin immersion families about the change

Here’s a letter that went out on January 10, 2019 to families at Woodstock Elementary school in Portland, Oregon. Woodstock is the second-oldest public Mandarin immersion program in the nation.


Dear PPS Chinese Dual Language Immersion Families,

As many of you may know, PPS has been fortunate to receive significant grant funding from both the US government and the Chinese government for over twelve years to support opportunities for K-12 students to learn Chinese language and culture. These significant financial supports enabled PPS to expand opportunities from several hundred students to thousands of students in diverse settings. Our intent is to continue to use these resources to support and expand these opportunities.

However, due to federal funding legislation passed by the US Senate this past year, we are required to separate these funding sources and programs. What this means at the school level is that our Confucius Classroom (CC) teachers will not be able to work in our Chinese DLI classrooms. We were notified this week that this separation must be complete and certified by Tuesday, January 15th. Unfortunately, the way the law is written, we have no choice in this matter if we are to retain these two grants.

Those CC teachers currently working in Chinese DLI program classrooms will be shifted to other classrooms or schools to establish this separation. We are working with our principals on how to make this happen given the short timeline.  Principals will share those details with students and families.

We will miss having these wonderful adults as part of our DLI programs.   However, moving PPS into compliance with this new law allows PPS and the Portland community to maintain both resources for supporting the teaching and learning of Chinese language and culture. All DLI programs and courses will continue, and every effort will be made to make this transition as smooth as possible.

Thanks for your patience and understanding as we work to do our best to serve students while complying with this new legislation.


Michael Bacon

Director of Department of Dual Language

Portland Public Schools


Politics affecting Confucius Institutes, which provide support for some Mandarin immersion programs

January 9, 2019

Several articles on the issue below:


The furor over the Confucius Institutes is distracting from real Chinese threats


University Confucius Institute closed months before FBI monitoring

Closing a Confucius Institute, at Congressmen’s Request


NC State is closing its Chinese-backed Confucius Institute. Is politics behind decision?

Read more here:


Confucius Institute closed at US university amid concerns about Chinese influence on campuses

Senator Marco Rubio has been among US lawmakers warning that the Confucius Institute was an effort by China to expand its political influence abroad



Florida university latest to cut ties with China’s Confucius Institute

Making immersion work in Middle and High School

January 6, 2019

From our friends at Asia Society’s Chinese Early Language & Immersion Network (CELIN)

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Making Middle and High School Mandarin Immersion Work

By Michael Bacon, Director, Department of Dual Language, Portland Public Schools

& Eric Schneider, Associate Superintendent, Minnetonka Public Schools


Effectively engaging adolescents and nurturing their academic, cognitive, and social development is a challenge for any educational program. Doing so in a bilingual program can even be more challenging.

With over 200 Mandarin immersion programs emerging in elementary schools over the past decade in a variety of contexts (Weise, 2018; also see CELIN Online Directory of Student Programs, learning-initiatives/find-or-document- program), a virtual tidal wave of Mandarin immersion students are moving into the secondary school grades (6-12).

During this transitional time, many Chinese immersion programs are struggling to retain students, keep them focused on school, and continue to develop a high level of language proficiency, cultural knowledge, and ability to grapple with more abstract and rigorous content in both languages (Chinese and English).


Please read more here.

Newly updated for 2019 — we’re up to 277 Mandarin immersion programs in the United States

January 2, 2019



Chinese class work posted on a hallway bulletin board in a Mandarin immersion school in California.

I spent New Year’s Day updating my list of Mandarin immersion programs after following up on the information and leads readers, parents, teachers and administrators so kindly send me about what’s happening in Mandarin immersion.  Here’s the newly updated list. We’re up to 277 U.S. programs, including a few that will launch this coming fall.

To see the full list, click on the link below. It will open a spreadsheet that contains all the schools I have information about. And you can always go to the page of this blog that the list lives on, which is here.

Mandarin immersion program list 2019-01-01


  • Adobe Bluffs Elementary School, Poway Unified School District, San Diego
  • AXIS International Academy, Ft. Collins, CO (opening Fall 2019)
  • Camelot Prep, Orange, CA K – 12 Private.
    • I had been told by a parent that this school had diminished the amount of Mandarin taught and had deleted it previously. The schools says otherwise. Trying to find other parents to get a better sense of the school and its focus but I’m adding it back in for now.
  • Chief Sealth International High School 
    • This is the high school portion of Seattle Public Schools’ Mandarin immersion program. It begins at Beacon Hill Elementary and Dearborne Elementary schools, continues at Mercer Middle School and then finishes at Chief Sealth. [Note: Sealth is pronounced See-ELTH. And he was indeed the Salish chief after whom the city was named.]
  • Cornerstone Mandarin Immersion Program, Palo Alto, Calif.
  • Pacific Academy, K – 12, Irvine, Calif.
  • Polis Montessori World School, private, New York City

International Additions:

  • No. 28 Primary School in District 5  in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
    • This is an elementary and possible middle school (K-8, I think) in Argentina.  The only information I could gather was from a news article here.
  • Luyanzi College Kampala, Uganda
    • This is a school that teaches Mandarin and may be immersion. While it’s called a college, what I can glean from its website and the article about it online makes it seem as if it’s more a high school-college, which isn’t uncommon in many parts of the world. But not fully clear. It has a website, though it’s not always up. There’s also an article up about it here.


  • Plantation Elementary School in Lafayette, La.
    • Has changed its name to Cpl. Micheal Middlebrook Elementary


  • UC iPrep Charter Academy, Los Angeles.
    • Closed abruptly on August 22, 2018
  • Worldspeak, Los Angeles
    • Removed as a parent told me it is only preschool and Kindergarten. Waiting to hear back from the school.