Yu Ming Charter School

Yu Ming Charter School

Serves students in grades Pre-K–8

Program Description

Yu Ming Charter School is a tuition-free, K–8 public charter school authorized by the Alameda County Office of Education. Located in Oakland, Yu Ming is the first public language immersion school in the state of California. As such, it is our mission to give children from across a wide range of ethnic, socio-economic, racial, and language backgrounds the opportunity to become bilingual in Mandarin Chinese and English.

The school opened its doors to its inaugural class of 100 Kindergarten and 1st-grade students in 2011. Since then, the school has been growing by one grade each year, attracting a diverse mix of students from nearly every zip code in Alameda County. As of the 2016–17 school year, Yu Ming serves 350 students in grades K–6. By the 2018–19 academic year, Yu Ming will be fully enrolled with students in grades K–8. 

Yu Ming is committed to fostering diversity and nurturing lifelong learners who are bilingual in Mandarin Chinese and English and who demonstrate curiosity, compassion, strong moral character, and a sense of personal responsibility to the community and our environment. Students learn to be problem solvers, strong communicators, and leaders who work together and take responsibility for their own learning.

Yu Ming follows a full-immersion model of instruction. In Kindergarten to Grade 2, 90 percent of instruction is in Mandarin Chinese and 10 percent is in English. The mix changes to 70 percent Mandarin Chinese and 30 percent English in grades 3 and 4. Grades 5 and 6 have a 50-50 split in Mandarin Chinese and English. Students in grades 7 and 8 will have the option of maintaining the even split or changing to a 30/70 Mandarin Chinese/English mix. 

Yu Ming is consistently among the top-performing schools in California, based on results from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, compiled and released annually by the California Department of Education. In 2016, the most recent year data were available, an average of 80 percent of Yu Ming students in grades 3–5 met or exceeded standards in English compared with 45 percent statewide. In math, 83 percent of Yu Ming students met or exceeded standards compared with 39 percent statewide.

Program Features

Student-Driven Personalized Bilingual, Biliterate, and Bicultural Program
Lower School (Grades K–4) students at Yu Ming are continuously building background knowledge and oracy. In addition, Yu Ming has adapted the Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop model to implement a challenging and rigorous immersion-balanced literacy program in which students have numerous opportunities to demonstrate all three modes of communication: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentation. Yu Ming’s Kindergarten program focuses on oral proficiency within a developmentally appropriate early-literacy program. In both English and Chinese classrooms, the school has developed a leveled reading system supplemented by a leveled online reading platform. Yu Ming has also built a vertically articulated grade level writing system with a common framework to model writing, guide practice, and support all students. Yu Ming teachers use a range of instructional approaches, including explicit instruction, guided and independent practice, small-group instruction, technology integration, and one-on-one conferencing, to provide students multiple avenues for accessing, understanding, and applying new knowledge and skills.

Yu Ming’s Upper School (Grades 5–6) is featured as a Summit Base Camp school and is part of the Silicon Schools Fund portfolio of proof-point schools that demonstrate innovation in education and personalized learning. Our approach to personalized learning encourages students to actively participate in their education and to drive their own success. Students do this by setting goals and developing habits of success with support from daily advisories, mentors, and content teachers. Since 2016, Yu Ming has become an innovative project-based language immersion learning community. 

Yu Ming staff measure and reflect on our program goals and outcomes through a series of data inquiry cycles each year. The school’s curriculum is aligned with the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines, Common Core State Standards, and Next Generation Science Standards. In addition to internal formative and summative assessments, each year the school administers the Early Language Listening and Oral Proficiency (ELLOPA) exam developed by the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) in Grade K–1 and the Avant Standards-Based Measurement of Proficiency (STAMP 4Se) in Grades 2 and up. Students in Grades 3 and up are assessed through the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). Upper School Students take Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) each trimester.

Yu Ming features enriching classes that build language proficiency and cultural fluency through hands-on and authentic learning experiences in Chinese. Enrichment classes include Visual and Performing Arts, Choral and Instrumental Music, Design Lab, Journalism, and Chinese Opera and Drama. Yu Ming’s after school program also has multiple offerings from which students can choose, including chess, Chinese Go, Spanish, hands-on science, outdoor education, robotics, and abacus.

Upper School students participate in week-long expeditions that take them out of the classroom and into the community to complete student-selected service projects that have arts or digital integration. These activities contribute to and improve the community.

Internship and Partnership
Since 2015, Yu Ming has been accepting undergraduate and graduate school interns from several major universities in Taiwan. These interns work closely with our lead teachers and students during the year that they spend at Yu Ming. This opportunity offers Yu Ming students and host families a chance to connect on a very personal level with people and cultures from other parts of the world. Yu Ming is also currently building partnerships with the Confucius Institute at San Francisco State University, as well as developing relationships with schools in Jiangsu Province, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong.

Yu Ming has been featured on CBS 5 KPIX as the Cool School in 2012, and in the documentary to commemorate the revolutionary pioneer, Sun Yat-sen’s 150th Birth Anniversary on CCTV-4 in 2016.

Program Contact

Sue Park, Head of School

Xinyi Xu, Chinese Language Program Coordinator

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