North Carolina school teaches students in Mandarin

New this year,  Stough Elementary in Raleigh has eighteen students enrolled in its Mandarin Chinese immersion program. The News Observer reports that program is already showing a lot of promise with students that live within the public school’s district.

Kindergarteners in the immersion program at Stough spend nearly their entire day learning in Mandarin. The class has one English literacy class and takes art and physical education in English.

In first grade, students will continue on the same track. In higher grades, Mandarin and English will be 50-50 in the classroom.

The students will continue to participate in the state’s standardized tests. In addition, they will be tested on their Mandarin proficiency.

Stough’s program began as part of an effort to give more families an opportunity to participate in an immersion program. It was also designed to retain neighborhood families as many student’s in the attendance area had left the school for another in the district.

Principal Cheryl Stidham told the News Observer that she hopes to have two Mandarin immersion Kindergarten classes next year. She also wants to add 10 seats to the first-grade program. Students who are not part of the immersion program can take Mandarin classes as an elective.

All Mandarin teachers at Stough are native speakers who were recruited through VIF International Education. VIF’s programs prepare students for success in an interconnected world.

This fall, the school board voted to make the immersion program a magnet, so students around the county can apply to attend.

I love seeing language immersion taking place in more and more schools across the country. Immersion can give students a huge advantage later in life as they seek jobs and navigate a multicultural world. Language immersion also promotes acceptance of various cultures and lifestyles and supports diversity starting at a young age.

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