U.S. alumni report growth of critical language programs in their schools
Buxton Center Elementary School
During the 2016-17 academic year, Buxton Center Elementary School will become the first TCLP school to host two exchange teachers during a single academic year. Currently all kindergarten students in the Maine School Administrative District #6 (MASD6) take weekly Mandarin classes at Buxton Center Elementary School with TCLP exchange teacher, Feng Yu. This inaugural class of Chinese language learners generated tremendous enthusiasm from students and parents alike, and resulted in an outpouring of support for the district’s Mandarin program. “As a result of the TCLP grant and the strong relationships Mrs. Feng has established not only within the school but the larger community as a whole, the school board has agreed to support the program for the upcoming year” said Frank Sherburne, Superintendent of Schools for MASD6. Hosting two TCLP teachers in the upcoming year will enable the district to continue to offer the Mandarin language program at the kindergarten level while also expanding it to the first grade. The district intends to continue building the program on a yearly basis.
Etowah High School
“Our Chinese program is successfully growing” says Dr. Claudia Larrotta, the World Language Department Chair at Etowah High School. The school, which hosted exchange teachers Tian Kun during 2013-2014 and Wang Haiyan during 2014-2015, currently offers Chinese levels 1, 2, and 3 to high school students. The program was also recently expanded to the middle school level. “All this has been possible because of the opportunity TCLP gave us to start the program in our county” said Dr. Larrotta, who served as the mentor teacher for both of the school’s TCLP exchange teachers.
Mentor High School
Students at Mentor High School had the opportunity to connect with their peers in Egypt this year during their Arabic classes with TCLP exchange teacher, Ezzat Hassan. Mr. Hassan launched Mentor High School’s Arabic program in 2015 and took advantage of the school’s one-to-one technology program, in which every student has access to a personal device in the classroom, to coordinate video conferences between his students learning Arabic in the U.S. and students from his school in Mit Ghamr, Egypt who are learning English. “It was especially cool… because we were able to Skype and Facetime with students from across the world in Egypt” said one of Mr. Hassan’s students during a district school board meeting in May. “That provided us with a really incalculable experience.”
Naselle-Grays River Valley School District
The school board at Naselle-Grays River Valley School District voted at the beginning of the year to fully fund the Mandarin Immersion Program at Naselle Schools. The program, which is currently open to students in kindergarten through third grade, has hosted three TCLP exchange teachers to date: Lin Li (2013-2014), Xie Fen (2014-2015), and Tan Jin (2015-2016). The Mandarin Immersion Program is continuing to grow in Naselle, a community of less than 500 people, and has attracted students from neighboring districts in Washington state and Oregon state. The program will expand to the fourth grade level as it enters its fourth year in 2016 and will welcome a new TCLP exchange teacher in August.
Host schools, remember to share your successes with TCLP! Looking for ways to expand your school's language program? Check out the TCLP Virtual Alumni Conference on Building Sustainable Critical Language Programs here.