Mandarin program continues at high schools

Photo By: Elliott Burr/ Town Crier
Photo Elliott Burr/ Town CrierMegan Lee, above right, a Los Altos High School student, works with Sarah Choi of Mountain View High to create a website using Chinese characters.

The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District plans to offer Mandarin I, II and III next year and, pending adequate enrollment, may include the classes as part of the regular school-day curriculum.

The Mandarin classes, which the district initiated after school hours this year, are standard 10-unit courses that meet UC and CSU requirements for high school students. The district currently hosts two classes with an enrollment of 52 students – 22 from Mountain View High, 16 from Los Altos High and 14 incoming eighth-graders.

After a group of parents requested the Mandarin program last year, district officials collaborated with interested families to develop a sustainable curriculum. In the past, the district offered a Mandarin program with little success.

“Everyone is very excited about the progress and strong interest in this program,” said Jeannie Choi, a parent supporter.

Students can expect to learn to converse in Mandarin and to read and write using basic grammar and vocabulary through the classes. The classes use the simplified and traditional Chinese method with Pinyin, Chinese culture and traditional holiday celebrations via hands-on activities.

Choi praised the Mandarin I instructor, Winnie Tung, who employs modern technology to teach Chinese.

“Our current Mandarin teacher … is doing a wonderful job teaching the two level I classes,” Choi said. “Our students are getting familiar with her unique teaching style. We all hope that the school district will retain her to teach our students in the future.”

Choi said district officials devoted “enormous effort” before the school year began to find a teacher who fit their profile.

“And we found Tung,” she said, “who is not only a great teacher, but a great promoter for our program.”

The number of Mandarin classes the district will offer and their sustainability in the future depends on the initial enrollment and ongoing interest. For the program to continue, a minimum of 25 students must be enrolled in each upper-level class.

Placement is based on the student’s language proficiency.


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