Expanding Chinese Language Capacity

Three months before President Hu Jintao of China made his historic visit to Washington State and met with Governor Christine Gregoire in April, 2006, a group of 60 business, education, and community leaders and policy makers met to explore the possibility of reaching a “tipping point” for interest in expanding Chinese language capacity in the U.S. and Washington State. The group set a goal of “10% of students in Washington State learning Chinese by the year of 2015.” (Read the 2006 Summit Report.)

Since 2006, a lot has happened, including the establishment of the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington, a unique state-level partnership between the University of Washington, Seattle Public Schools, the Governor’s Office, and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. In recognition of the Confucius Institute’s 3rd anniversary on April 26, 2013, we convened another meeting of business, education, and community leaders and policy makers to explore progress to date and next steps on the journey of expanding Chinese language capacity. Meeting at a business breakfast at the Wing Luke Museum in Seattle on the morning of April 26, 2013, the group of fifty had a chance to hear stories of amazing students from kindergarten to college age and beyond who have benefited from Washington’s effort to expand Chinese language and culture in our schools. Find out how we are doing at meeting the goal set in 2006l:  10% of students learning Chinese by 2015. Here are some highlights from the business breakfast.

Update 2013

Beginning with the end in mind, success stories from our students and teachers:

Dennis Tanner, student in the K-16 Chinese Flagship at U of Oregon, graduate of Peninsula High School.

Did you know that since the Chinese Flagship program began at the University of Oregon in 2005, 245 students have enrolled in Chinese Flagship courses and 98 students have graduated the program? Currently, 41 students are enrolled in the program.

Justin Ith, student at the University of Washington, graduate of One World Now! Chinese program.      

Did you know that over 2000 students have participated in the One World Now! program over the past 10 years, over a 1000 of which studied Chinese and approximately 225 have traveled to China on scholarship?

Zena, 6th grader at Pathfinder K-8 School, Seattle.

Did you know that Seattle has hosted over a dozen guest teachers from China, and this year both Seattle and Longview School Districts are hosting two guest teachers each?

Jiang Xuanlong, Chinese guest teacher at Pathfinder K-8 School, Seattle.

Did you know that I’ve taught Chinese to over 600 students in Seattle Public Schools over the past two years?

Nat & Delaney, 4th graders in Mandarin Immersion at Beacon Hill International School, Seattle.

Did you know that in 2006, there weren’t any Chinese Dual Immersion programs in Washington and now there are three in Seattle, Vancouver, and Bellevue?

Kelly Aramaki, principal at Beacon Hill International School, 2013 Washington State Elementary Principal of the Year.

Did you know that in 2012, 100% of 3rd graders in the Mandarin Immersion program at Beacon Hill met standard in the state math test (MSP) – even though they had been taught Math in Mandarin since kindergarten?

Nicholas & Samrawit, 1st graders in Mandarin Immersion at Beacon Hill International School.

We are the future!

Pollyanna Wang, Chinese teacher at Chief Sealth International High School, Seattle

Did you know that since 2007, over 30 teachers of Chinese have completed the teacher preparation program led by Betty Lau in Seattle Public Schools, funded by STARTALK. I was one of the first Chinese teachers to get my teacher certification and Chinese language endorsement through this program.

Expansion of Chinese Language Programs in public high schools 2004 – 2012

Based on data from the Mapping & Enhancing Language Learning (MELL) Surveys in 2004, 2007, 2009, and data from the OSPI Student Enrollment database (CEDARS) in spring 2012, we can chart the growth of Chinese in our state.

schools offering chinese graphic

Read more about the Business Breakfast in an article in the Puget Sound Business Journal.