HAMPTON, GA – Dutchtown Elementary School is the only public school in Georgia with a Chinese Dual Immersion Program, and was awarded a start-up grant of $15,000 to assist with materials, and training and development for the school’s staff members.
Beaming with excitement from the news, Principal Dr. Winnie Johnson quickly remembers her seven-year uncertain journey into a new culture.
“I was a part of a ‘Bridge Trip’ for educators and administrators to help bridge the gap between U.S. educational practices and those of countries around the world,” said Johnson. “The trip to China opened my eyes to some amazing educational ideas I couldn’t wait to share with my school upon our return.”
The process of introducing a foreign culture as unique and intricate as Chinese was done in small steps, starting with simple exercises and activities during school events, including the combination of the annual fall festival with that of a traditional Chinese Autumn Moon Festival. The 2013 Chinese Autumn Moon Festival is September 19th.
Celebration of the Chinese New Year during the 2012-13 school year attracted speakers and attendees that including the Chinese communities in Metro Atlanta, dignitaries from Washington, D.C., the local chamber of commerce, and county and city government officials. The 2014 Chinese New Year is January 31.
Learning of the Georgia Department of Educations World Languages and Global Initiatives Unit and its goal to implement 20 dual-immersion programs by the year 2020, Johnson asked, and was given the go-ahead and sought to make Dutchtown Elementary one of the 20 schools.
This year 40 kindergarten students are the first group learning Mandarin Chinese.
The 50/50 model means that 50% of instructional time is in Mandarin Chinese and the remainder conducted in English. For the first class, Math and Science is in the foreign language, and English Language Arts and Social Studies in English.
Each year the program will roll up to the next grade, with new students starting in kindergarten.
For more information about Dutchtown Elementary School.
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