First grade teacher Qianxi Jiang’s students were hard at work on math recently when members of the international Asia Society visited their Meadow Brook Elementary classroom.
The visitors were led by Principal Tim Shaw and Jesus Santillán, the district’s director of immersion and language learning.
Every year a team from the international organization visits 15 partner schools to observe Mandarin Chinese immersion classes and get feedback on the program from students, teachers and administrators.
Asia Society provides partner schools with professional development, grant funding and a network with which to improve and collaborate.
“We had very little materials when we started,” Shaw told Asia Society visitors Yiwei Zhu, senior program associate of China learning initiative, and Assistant Director Cleopatra Wise. “If the me today had talked to me 12 years ago, I wouldn’t have believed that we are able to offer so much.”
Meadow Brook is the K-4 district school where Mandarin Chinese immersion begins. The program intensifies at Northern Trails ⅚ and Northern Hills Middle School, and culminates at Northern High School, where students can also earn up to 28 credits in Chinese through Western Michigan University.