A note from Fremont, CA

We recently received an email from Donald Apy, a Chinese immersion parent in Fresno, CA. He shared some resources that students at his child’s school are using that you might find helpful. He writes:

For vocabulary, our children use Arch Chinese (emphasizes character writing) and Yellow Bridge (lookup using pinyin), and some have purchased the Wenlin software. Our parent group purchased iChinese Reader for our school this year. The teachers like the dashboard, and kids like earning points for games.

A little more unique, a parent recently alerted us to an offer from a new Amazon Prime Channel called Miao Mi. The creators are asking parents to evaluate the channel and provide feedback…and the offer is available to any parent who is interested in giving input to a new product. Below are the details. It is geared mostly toward parents with children ages 3-7 (pre-school to 1st grade).  Interested parents can go to http://www.miaomi-tv.com/ and click on the link to be directed to Amazon to sign up free for 7 days. There are 4 channels — the first 2 are in English and the second 2 are in Mandarin. Start with Miao Mi Classroom to learn a few words in Mandarin (instruction is in English), then select a show to view in Mandarin and then view its equivalent English version.  After you have reviewed the shows, you can provide feedback using the google form at Miao Mi Parent Feedback. You can also navigate to the channel on Amazon (requires signup for Amazon Prime): Amazon Videos –> Channels (See all channels) → Kids & Family –> Miao Mi.

It’s fun to see the great ideas percolating up!


New Research on Immersion Learning

Image result for American Educational Research Journal

A top-ranked education journal* in the US just published a study on the efficacy of immersion learning on student performance. The article is open-access and is available here.

Some key findings:

“We find that students randomly assigned to immersion outperform their peers on state accountability tests in reading by about seven months of learning in Grade 5 and nine months of learning in Grade 8. Examining mathematics and science scores, we find no statistically significant immersion benefit but also no detriment. This is important given that students receive 25% to 100% of their mathematics and science instruction in the partner language through Grade 5.”

WOW! By 8th grade DLI students are almost a full year ahead of their peers in their English reading. No detriment on math and science. Plus they are bilingual! This is a PHENOMENAL finding. Children can be bilingual without having any adverse impact on other aspects of their education.

More from the article: “What is clear is that among students randomly assigned to immersion, those whose native language matches the partner language show a 6 percentage point reduction in the probability of being classified as an English Learner as of about fifth grade and a 14 point reduction in sixth grade. This finding corroborates other research showing an immersion advantage in English Learner reclassification beyond the early grades.”

In other words, students who native language is not English also have  significant benefits from DLI VS non-native English speakers who are not in DLI.

This is cutting edge research that needs to be shared!

*The American Educational Research Journal is the flagship journal of the American Educational Research Association. This is one of the best education research journals in the world!


Immersion Students Starting College Courses


These 10th graders are not college ready, they are already in college! They are all enrolled at the University of Utah in an upper division 3000 level Spanish course — they are part of a pioneer group of Spanish immersion students from Granite School District who passed the AP as 9th graders, and are now in their first year of the Bridge Program! This is coming to Chinese in the next two years! What is the Bridge Program? From this white paper:

“The Bridge Program is a unique partnership between all Utah state institutions of higher education and school districts with DLI programs. Each Bridge course is developed by a statewide team of university and high school instructors and delivered during a full academic year by a pair of instructors, one from the university hosting the course and one from the high school site working in a co-teaching model. Through challenging and sophisticated approaches to cultural content, Bridge courses focus on developing critical thinking skills and advancing students’ language proficiency towards state grade level targets. The courses further the state goal of graduating students from high school with language proficiency levels more typical of students completing a language major in college. Utah’s institutions of higher education are actively preparing for this influx of linguistically advanced students.

“The Bridge Program meets the need for a secondary pathway for DLI students, but its impact goes beyond this. Enrollment in Bridge courses is open to any student who passes the requisite AP Language and Culture exam, thus broadening its reach to heritage speakers and other students who pass the exam at any point prior to their final year of high school. The Bridge Program promotes equity and access to bilingual and bicultural citizenship in Utah by offering rigorous, upper division university language and culture courses to any qualified student in designated high schools as determined by each district.”

3000 level courses in 10th grade? Wow, that is incredible!

What happens with immersion in high school?

Some people have expressed confusion about what happens to dual language immersion students when they get to high school. There have been some very exciting developments over the past year and the purpose of this post is to explain the Utah State plan. We’ll discuss AP tests, college language courses taken in high school (for dual credit), and how this will impact Regents Scholarships (spoiler: it’s really good news!).

First – what is the secondary pathway for dual language immersion (DLI) in Utah?


Ideally students in 7th and 8th grade will take 1.5 credits of Chinese each year. We are very grateful to districts and junior highs/middle schools who allow parents flexibility in which classes their children take. Because of the small number of electives, for some students it will make sense to not take some classes (e.g., health, PE, FAC, art, music, Utah history, etc.) so that they can take the classes they really want to (e.g., health, PE, FAC, art, music, Utah history, etc.) and still take the full immersion load.

So, when do students take AP Chinese? The current structure is for students to take the World Language 5 DLI Honors course in 9th grade, and if they are ready, to take the AP test. Let’s assume a student takes and passes the AP language test in 9th grade. What next?

Your student will have the opportunity to take “Bridge courses,” which are funded by a state law passed in 2016. These are college level courses, with different courses being offered in 10th, 11th and 12th grades – helping students earn both high school and college credit. As stated here, “The [University of Utah’s] Second Language Teaching & Research Center has been charged by the Utah State Board of Education to lead the program and is working closely with all Utah institutions of higher education to develop and deliver 3000-level university courses to high school students. This program will allow them to graduate from high school with up to nine upper division credits and further facilitate their development of advanced language proficiency.” Incredible! Students can graduate from high school just two classes short of a minor in the foreign language.

What if your child isn’t ready for the AP test in 9th grade? That student can take AP Chinese (or French, Spanish, etc.) in 10th grade and then take two bridge courses (in 11th and 12th grade). If you want more detail, you can read this narrative about the Bridge courses or watch a video that explains it.

Some parents have expressed concern about the Regents scholarship. For example, “If my child takes AP Chinese in 9th grade, does she then have to take two consecutive years of a different foreign language in 11th and 12th grades?” Happily the answer is no. The Regents office has specified in writing (page 9 of this document) that the bridge classes WILL count towards Regents.

In summary: 1. 7th and 8th grade students should take 1.5-2 credits of foreign language each year. We hope districts and schools will offer schedule flexibility so students can take the immersion classes and other classes that will be most beneficial for them individually. 2. Students will have the opportunity to either (a) take the AP test in 9th grade and then take three college classes (in grades 10-12), or (b) take the AP test in 10th grade and then take two college classes (in grades 11-12). Either of these options will satisfy Regents.

Utah’s immersion program is awesome. Thank a teacher, administrator or legislator today!


Job opportunity in Park City. Please read and share!

Seeking: Part-Time Mandarin Teacher in Park City
Parley’s Park Elementary is looking for an after school Mandarin Teacher to fulfill our after school Foreign Language Program.
When : All classes are 3.15 – 4.00 p.m. on Monday, Wednesdays and Thursdays at Parley’s Park
Elementary. Monday, November 7th – Thursday, May 11th. No classes on scheduled school
● Teach 15 to 20 children, ages 6 – 12 years old, in basic vocabulary and language skills.
Children are not expected to be fluent, but familiar and exposed to the language.
● Run structured activities supported by materials and session plans.
● Support PPES Foreign Language Program Guidelines and Policies.
● Communicate with parents at drop-off and pick-up time.
1. Teaching Experience and/or Organized Group Learning Experience
2. Available to work scheduled dates.
3. Qualified candidates must have native command or native-level speaker in Mandarin
Chinese and English. With strong oral and written communication skills in both
languages including writing in Traditional and Simplified characters.
4. Expertise of Chinese customs and culture.
5. Ability to plan and implement creative, hands-on, and engaging lessons at various
6. Legal authorization to work in the USA and/or a Visa to work in the USA.
7. Back-ground check and fingerprinting to be completed upon hire.
8. 3 Letters of Recommendation confirming proficiency in Mandarin as well as reference.
● $40 Per class fee
Annie Cashiola, Foreign Language Chair
anniecashiola@gmail.com or 512.632.8808