Category Archives: News

Strong Majority of Provo District 9th Graders Passed AP Chinese Test

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As students this month are vigorously preparing to pass the AP Chinese test, we thought it would be timely to share some good news from the Provo School District. In the spring of 2018, students in six different Utah high schools were 9th grade Chinese immersion students — the first wave of Mandarin immersion students to take the AP Chinese test.

A total of 44 9th grade students at Timpview High School (Provo School District) took the AP Chinese test in the spring of 2018. The results were excellent — 77% of students passed the AP Test — much higher than the national average. These students at Timpview have been fortunate to have amazing teachers and strongly supportive administrators since Elementary School.

These students have clearly demonstrated that success is possible. This program can work – with dedicated teachers and administrators, a strong majority of Mandarin immersion students can pass the AP test in 9th Grade. Deep thanks to all those involved – from elected officials in the state government of Utah, to state, district, and school administrators, and especially the teachers!

Immersion Students Starting College Courses

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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!

Come celebrate ‘Year of the Monkey’ at Lehi High

Lehi High’s Chinese students are hosting their annual Chinese New Year Celebration on Monday, Feb. 15th at 5 p.m. Admission is $2 per person. From 5-6:45 p.m. there will be about 25 booths with Chinese cultural activities and crafts for kids of all ages, followed by a short program with a Lion Dance and Dragon Dance at 7 p.m. Restaurants will be on hand to sell food—cash only. New activities this year include: knot tying, jump rope, fan dance, button making and much more.

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Chinese most widely spoken native language

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The Washington Post just published this fascinating series of info-graphics illuminating some surprising facts about language, diversity and global populations. What I love about this series are the layers of complexity. The story isn’t all that long, but it challenges us to question misconceptions about the dominance of English. Chinese, for example, has more native speakers than any other language, followed by Hindi and Urdu,” WAPO reports. English comes next, followed by Arabic and then Spanish.

But cut the numbers differently, and you get a new perspective. We’ve all heard that America is a great melting pot, but it is far from the most linguistically diverse country or continent. Africa wins that distinction.

English is widely used as an official language. It is spoken in more countries than anywhere else and it the most studied.

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But the most languages are spoken by only a handful of people, and are at risk of disappearing in 100 years, says WAPO.

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Is American educating its kids for the past or the future?

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Stumbled across this incredible report on globalization by the Asia Society. I’ve included a brief summary below with links to more. But the three points that stick out for me:

  • America’s markets are mostly abroad. Ninety-five percent of consumers and three-quarters of the world’s purchasing power are outside U.S. borders.
  • Globalization means domestic job growth. One out of every five American jobs is currently tied to international trade. Twenty-four states have seen greater than 100 percent growth over a 20-year period; some states, like Maine, are approaching 200 percent job growth in this sector.
  • America is educating its students for the past, not the future. In California, for instance, only 15 percent of students learn a foreign language, and the vast majority does not go beyond an introductory level.

From the report:

Asia Society, together with Longview Foundation and SAS, released Mapping the Nation, an interactive map that shows how 3,000 U.S. counties are connected globally. It also uses available education data that points to a dearth of knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the global economy. One thing is clear: there is a tremendous gap between demand for a globally competent workforce, and the supply that is currently coming out of America’s schools and universities.

The real lesson here is this is not the responsibility of the education system alone. It takes a clear understanding of America’s economic and demographic context, as well as public and political will, to give educators the support they need to help keep the United States and its workforce strong.”

Nation’s first publicly-funded Chinese immersion charter school

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In a middle-class, Minneapolis neighborhood is the nation’s first Chinese immersion charter school, which has a goal of pushing its students to near-native bilingualism by 8th grade, reports The New York Times.

Some highlights from the story:

“Yinghua, which means ‘English Chinese,’ [opened] with just 76 students and four teachers in 2006,” and now has 660 students, the newspaper says. “The student-teacher ratio is 10 to one, and 78 percent of the teachers hold advanced degrees, many of them from American universities; three have Ph.D.’s.”

Unlike Utah’s dual-immersion model, Yinghua Academy is a total-immersion school, one of a handful in the country. This means Yinghua teaches all academic subjects in Chinese through fourth grade before moving to a half-English model for grades five to eight. “Our goal is real bilingualism by eighth grade, which is near native,” the school’s director, Luyi Lien told the NY Times.

As one parents puts it, “High expectations are yoked to high results.” The newspaper explains:

“In standardized tests, Yinghua students perform at least as well or better than their public school counterparts, even though English classes begin only at age 7. In Minnesota’s Multiple Measure Rating system, Yinghua has ranked within the top 15 percent of all Minnesota public schools for the past three years. (That includes the Focus Rate ranking, which measures the school’s reduction in the achievement gap between higher and lower socioeconomic groups).”