View Full Version : All SF Mandarin Masters: Starr King's 1st Mandarin Immersion Class Grows Up

04-17-2012, 09:18 AM
From S.F. Gate (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/04/17/BAM91O1A1S.DTL) by Jill Tucker:

In the fall of 2006, 23 kindergartners walked into their classroom for the first time at Starr King Elementary in San Francisco where their teacher only spoke Mandarin, a language most of the children had never seen nor heard.

They were the first batch of students to enroll in the district's new Mandarin immersion program, one of only a handful across the country offering immersion in this particular language.

It was a leap of faith for parents. The program, one of a handful of Mandarin programs in the country, lacked materials and teachers, and nationwide there wasn't a lot of professional experience in teaching one of the most difficult languages to learn.

Fast-forward nearly six years.

The first class of Starr King Mandarin students is heading to middle school - all of them capable in reading, writing and arithmetic in both English and Chinese. Of the original 23 students, 16 remain. Nine other students joined the program in later years.

By and large, the program has been a success, but not without growing pains every step of the way, said parent Ijnanya Foster, whose son Durrell Laury is among the fifth-graders moving up to middle school.

"When each school year was over, you could wipe the sweat off your brow and say we made it," she said. "We were the guinea pigs."

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