Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Philbrick Elementary students learning Mandarin Chinese

This is National Foreign Language Week -- a great opportunity to recognize students throughout the district who are learning other languages. Fifty students at the John D. Philbrick Elementary School in Roslindale are staying after school to learn to speak and write in Mandarin Chinese, an innovative program developed in partnership with Philbrick parents and supported by a grant from the Freeman Foundation. According to the U.S. Department of Education, less than one-half of one percent of American students taking a foreign language in grades K-12 study Chinese. Boston Public Schools has offered Chinese language instruction since 1983, when Snowden International High School became the first school in Massachusetts to develop a Mandarin Chinese program. Today, eleven BPS schools offer Mandarin language classes. This year, Boston Latin School began offering the district’s first Advanced Placement (AP) Chinese class, while Quincy Upper School plans to add an AP Chinese course next year.

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