Arizona State University Confucius Institute and School Partners
Serves students in grades Pre-K–12
This program profile first describes the partnerships forged by the Confucius Institute (CI) at Arizona State University (ASU) with 14 elementary and secondary schools in five school districts in Arizona to promote Chinese language learning. The profile then focuses in more detail on the four partner elementary school Dual Language Immersion Programs that are designated as Confucius Classrooms:
- Coronado Elementary School
- Gavilan Peak School
- Horseshoe Trails Elementary School
- Tarwater Elementary School
ASU Confucius Institute
Founded in 2007, the Confucius Institute at Arizona State University has maintained a partnership among Arizona State University, Sichuan University, and the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban) in China. The ASU Confucius Institute has a broad mission to promote scholarship about China and foster high-quality Chinese language and cultural education within schools and the community at large. To accomplish this mission, the Confucius Institute hosts academic conferences and scholarly talks, holds regular professional development workshops for teachers, and sponsors cultural outreach events for students and the community.
To promote Chinese learning among the rising generation, the Confucius Institute has worked since 2009 to establish dedicated “Confucius Classroom” partnerships with 14 elementary and secondary schools in five school districts in Arizona. To date, the ASU CI is proud to have more than 4,000 students studying Chinese in these schools. Partners include four elementary schools (Coronado Elementary, Lone Mountain Elementary, Horseshoe Trails Elementary, and Tarwater Elementary), two K–8 schools (Gavilan Peak School and Diamond Canyon School), four middle schools (Bogle Junior High School, Cooley Middle School, Rhodes Junior High, and Sonoran Trails Middle School), and four high schools (Boulder Creek High, Cactus Shadows High, Hamilton High School, and Williams Field High).
All four elementary school partners offer a variation of Chinese-English Dual Language Immersion Programs. A brief sketch of these programs is described in this profile. For a more detailed description of each program, see the CELIN Program Directory.
At the other end of the K–12 spectrum, four partner high schools offer AP-level Chinese. Through these schools, the ASU CI is able to develop an overarching, integrated Chinese curriculum and learning system that are based on Arizona K-12 academic standards. The ultimate goal is to ensure students will be linguistically and culturally prepared to handle the complex demands of a global society.
Fannie Tam, Associate Director, Confucius Institute at Arizona State University
Coronado Elementary Mandarin Chinese Dual Immersion Program, Higley Unified School District
Coronado Elementary, Cooley Middle School, and Williams Field High School in the Higley Unified School District have been awarded the honor of Confucius Classrooms in 2016. Ms. Ying Gu, the 2nd grade Mandarin teacher, received the 2015 Innovation Teaching Award from ASU Confucius Institute. Program Description Coronado Elementary (CE) in Gilbert, AZ, serves over 600 grade K–6 students in the Higley Unified School District (HUSD). The school has been designated an “A” rated and “Excelling” school by the Arizona State Department of Education, the highest designations given to a school. CE’s slogan is “connect to the world, engage the future, and inspire greatness.”
In 2013, CE was the first school in the district to offer Chinese language and culture classes through a Foreign Language Experience (FLEX) model. The after-school Chinese Culture Club and FLEX lessons sparked interest in the community in adding a world language to the school curriculum.
Starting in the fall of 2014, CE began offering Mandarin Dual Language Immersion as an option to the standard offerings in kindergarten and first grade. Each year since then, one more grade level is added until the program reaches the 6th grade. Coronado’s immersion program uses the 50/50 model, with the English-side and Chinese-side teachers splitting the day. Math and Science are taught in Mandarin Chinese along with Chinese language arts.
With close coordination among the teachers, school, district, community, ASU Confucius Institute, Hanban and College Board, and Asian Society, the program has enjoyed steady growth. In the 2016–2017 school-year, 360 students are enrolled in the immersion program from Kindergarten to grade 3. Special features of the program include a Chinese Cultural Club, the Coronado Mandarin Parent Council, a Mandarin Summer Camp, and Sister Schools in China. The program also collaborates in powerful ways with heritage weekend schools. (For a description of these special features, see this program in the CELIN Program Directory.)
Awards and Recognition
- Coronado Elementary, Cooley Middle School, and Williams Field High School in the Higley Unified School District have been awarded the honor of Confucius Classrooms in 2016.
- Ms. Ying Gu, the 2nd grade Mandarin teacher, received the 2015 Innovation Teaching Award from ASU Confucius Institute.
Summer Camp, 2016
Gavilan Peak School Mandarin Chinese Dual Immersion Program, Deer Valley Unified School District Mandarin Programs
The Deer Valley Unified School District was the first in the state of Arizona to adopt a Mandarin Immersion Program in 2009. The mission of the Mandarin Program in the Deer Valley Unified School District in Phoenix is to create a world-class, fully articulated Mandarin Chinese language curriculum from Pre-Kindergarten to university that will enhance the future success of students in a global and technologically advanced society. Deer Valley Unified School District offers an extraordinary opportunity for students to learn Mandarin Chinese in partial immersion programs at Gavilan Peak K–8 School and Desert Sage K–6 Elementary School. Students in partial immersion receive half of their daily instruction immersed in Mandarin. This includes instruction in the Mandarin language and culture, science, and math. All students in Kindergarten and first grade at Gavilan Peak have their Mandarin experience enriched with iPads. In 2016–2017, 416 students are enrolled in Mandarin immersion. Other students at Gavilan Peak K–8 School participate in Mandarin FLEX and FLES programs, learning Mandarin 45 to 60 minutes per week for FLES and daily for 55 minutes for a quarter in seventh grade for FLEX. These programs allow all students to learn the language and culture of Chinese.
Students participate in AP Chinese Language and Culture at Boulder Creek High School. In 2016–2017, 114 students are enrolled in high school level Mandarin courses at Gavilan Peak K–8 School, Diamond Canyon K–8 School, and Boulder Creek High School. The district’s first class of immersion students is in grade 7. The program goal is for all immersion students to take advantage of the opportunity to take AP classes in high school and receive the recognition of biliteracy with the Arizona State Seal of Biliteracy at graduation. The program carries out AAPPL testing in grades 3–6 (ACTFL Assessment of Performance Towards Proficiency in Languages). Students in grade 3 are tested on Interpersonal Listening and Speaking, with scores ranging from Novice 2 to Intermediate 1. Students in grade 6 are assessed with the full AAPPL: Presentational Writing scores range from Novice 2 to Intermediate 3, Interpersonal Listening and Speaking scores range from Novice 3 to Intermediate 4, Interpretive Reading from Novice 1 to Novice 4, and Interpretive Listening from Novice 3 to Intermediate 4.
Seventeen teachers teach Mandarin at four schools in Deer Valley Unified School District. All teachers are certified Mandarin teachers with the state of Arizona. The district offers specialized professional development and mentoring for teachers new to the United States in their first two years, with opportunities for leadership and continued professional development in their third year. Teachers who complete all three years of professional development are considered for the district’s Mandarin Teacher of Excellence Award. Curriculum development opportunities are offered throughout the school year. Special features of the program include partnerships with sister schools in China; participation of grade K-8 students in a Mandarin Speech Competition; a Name Day, in which teachers present students with their own Chinese name, chosen for them based on their unique personality and character traits during a naming ceremony; and Chinese New Year Celebrations. In partnership with ASU Confucius Institute, DVUSD has been able to successfully integrate cultural experiences for students, maximize student learning through professional development opportunities for teachers and program leaders, and welcome guest teachers to teach Mandarin. (For a description of these special features, see this program in the CELIN Program Directory.)
ASU CI also provides opportunities for the district’s high school students to continue their Chinese studies with the ASU Chinese Language Flagship Program. Parents have been an integral part of the development and growth of the program, with a Mandarin Parent Booster Club (a 501C3) that sponsors a Mandarin summer program and an Annual Golf Classic fundraising event. Proceeds from the events provide funds for classroom supplies and books for the program in addition to scholarships for high school Mandarin students. The Challenger Space Center in Peoria, Arizona, partnered with Gavilan Peak School Mandarin students and visiting Chinese students to participate in STEM activities. Students collaborated in both Mandarin and English to learn more about physics and Newton’s Laws of Motion.
Awards and Recognition
- Dear Valley was the first public school district in Arizona to offer Mandarin immersion and to offer Mandarin immersion in middle school.
- All schools in the district have been named A+ Schools of Excellence. Gavilan Peak, Diamond Canyon, and Boulder Creek are recognized as ASU Confucius Classroom Schools.
- Six teachers received the Confucius Institute Mandarin Teacher of Excellence Award.
- An International Delegation of Educators from China visited the district in 2014. High School students have participated in ASU Confucius Institute Chinese Bridge Summer Camp.
- Since 2013, the Mandarin Parent Booster Club has awarded yearly scholarships to Mandarin students at Boulder Creek High School.
DVUSD Mandarin Program
Horseshoe Trails Elementary Mandarin Chinese Dual Immersion Program, Cave Creek Unified School District Mandarin Programs
Horseshoe Trails Elementary School is a 12-year-old public school in northern Phoenix, AZ, with 662 students in grades K–6. Chinese language and culture have been part of the school culture since 2010, with a FLEX program. In Fall 2015, Horseshoe Trails opened a one-way language immersion program in grade 1, with 50 percent of the time learning in Chinese and 50 percent of the time in English. Students in kindergarten were able to opt into a modified immersion program called “Touch of Immersion,” as only math and language were taught daily (1 hour daily). The Horseshoe Trails Chinese Immersion Program follows a two-teacher model and has rolled up to grade 2 in the 2016–2017 school year. Additionally, the kindergarten Touch of Immersion has doubled in size. Horseshoe Trails is honored to have Confucius Classroom School status through its partnership with the Arizona State University Confucius Institute. Its robust guest teacher program hosts Hanban-sponsored teachers, who have helped deepen the sister-school relationship with a Foreign Languages School in Chengdu, China.
Special features of the program include a Ramp Up Camp in Kindergarten to help students be successful in first grade; Skype nights, in which students spend the evening with friends in Chengdu, China via Skype; and a Chinese Naming Ceremony toward the middle of first grade, in which students receive their Chinese names written in beautiful calligraphy. (For a description of these special features, see this program in the CELIN Program Directory.)
Comprehensive Input: Math
Tarwater Elementary Mandarin Chinese Dual Immersion Program, Chandler Unified School District Mandarin Programs
Tarwater Elementary, in Chandler, AZ, is proud to highlight its Mandarin Immersion program which, in the 2016-1017 school year, supports kindergarten, first grade, and second grade students. As part of the Chandler Unified School District (CUSD) in a preschool to grade 12 public school district, Tarwater Elementary represents CUSD’s commitment to offering both Spanish immersion and Mandarin language programs that extend throughout the junior high and high school levels. Students at Tarwater Elementary will eventually participate in the Chinese classes offered at Bogle Jr. High and Hamilton High Schools. Each of these designated sites supports Confucius Classrooms as part of an official partnership with the Arizona State University Confucius Institute.
In kindergarten, 60% of instruction is provided in Mandarin, taught by a native Chinese teacher with a focus on Chinese literacy, cultural awareness, and math. English language instruction is offered for the remaining 40% of time, in English Language Arts, math, and other content areas. In first and second grade, the program follows a 50% Mandarin, 50% English model. This 50/50 model will continue until Tarwater Elementary has a grades K-6 program, with students continuing the Dual Language Immersion Model at Bogle Jr. High and Hamilton High Schools. Students’ proficiency in Chinese is assessed regularly using the ACTFL guidelines to create language learning targets at each grade level.
The program helps students attain advanced levels of second language proficiency while also developing cultural awareness and appreciation. Through the partnership with the ASU Confucius Institute, students regularly celebrate important Chinese holidays. Parental involvement is a strong component of program success, and parents are encouraged to actively participate in cultural celebrations. The Mandarin Program Parent Group organizes parent-directed fundraising for Chinese books, food, t-shirts, performances, costumes, and more.
Tarwater Elementary is actively working to establish partnerships with elementary schools in China. The first partnership is underway with the Yanwu Elementary School, Xiamen City, in the Fuijan Province. School staff are actively evaluating technology needs to facilitate timely communication between U.S. schools and partner schools in China, using applications such as Skype, Facetime, and Dropbox for video recorded messages. (For a description of these special features, see this program in the CELIN Program Directory.)
Tarwater Elementary Dual Language Mandarin Immersion