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Taipei City Delegation visits Three School Districts in LA: LAUSD, HLPUSD and WVUSD

A delegation of 18 principals and teachers from elementary and high schools in Taipei City and two government officers from the Taipei City Government Department of Education made a study visit to three school districts in the Los Angeles area to learn from some American schools’ successful experience of implementing a Dual English-Chinese Immersion program and learn about some of the related issues. These include:(1) the federal and state regulations for setting up dual language immersion programs; (2) how these American school districts regulate teacher requirements and teachers’ credentials; (3) the curriculum, teaching methods, and assessment of learning results; (4) what kind of problems the American school districts encounter; and (5) how American school districts help individual schools to set up such an immersion program.
The Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles arranged for the Taipei City delegation to visit Broadway Elementary School and then Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) on March 16.
The delegation visited Broadway Elementary School in the LAUSD in the morning. The principal Susan Wang is a Taiwanese immigrant and she shared details of how the school has become a successful model for Chinese-English immersion program. Susan Wang emphasized that the key factor for this pilot program is the quality of the teachers and how the Chinese and English teachers collaborate well and become good partners in one classroom.
In the afternoon, the delegation met with Ms. Hilda Maldonado, Executive Director and Ms. Anne Kim, Director of the Multilingual and Multicultural Education Department in the LAUSD. LAUSD is the second largest school district in the U.S.A. and it has had a dual immersion program for English and Chinese since 2007. Anne Kim explained their 50/50 model, which means half the school day is conducted in the target language (such as Chinese) and half the day is in English. LAUSD currently has two elementary schools and one secondary school opening a dual Chinese/ English program for students. The most difficult part is when the Chinese-speaking teachers teach contents such as math, social studies, and science using Chinese because the students do not have a strong enough Chinese vocabulary to understand the Chinese terms for these courses!
On March 17, Liang Li-Ling, Director of the Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles accompanied the Taipei City delegation to Hacienda La Puente Unified School District to visit its superintendent, Dr. Cynthia Parulan-Colfer, Dr. Joseph K. Chang, president of its Board of Trustees, and Dr. Tony Torng, a board member, and then to meet with Dr. Paulina Cho principal of Wedgeworth Elementary School, and Robert Chang, principal of Walnut Elementary School and Dr. Tony Torng, Board Member, Walnut Valley United School District, at their schools. They discussed the kinds of problems school districts and schools encounter providing the dual immersion programs; the teaching materials and curriculum arrangements for the Chinese program; and how they provide professional training for teachers, and parental education to ensure parents understand how school districts run this program and the benefits it will bring.
The Taipei City delegation had classroom observation in each American school they visited giving them an invaluable opportunity to have a better understanding of just what an immersion class is like. Robert Chang, the principal of Walnut Elementary School enthusiastically encouraged the visitors from Taipei to provide immersion programs for their students because the experience of Walnut Elementary School demonstrates that the students enrolled in the immersion program have better learning outcomes than the students in the regular classes!
The Taipei City delegation expressed their great appreciation to these school districts and schools, and to TECO’s Education Division for the support provided during their visit, and they look forward to building up more interaction and communication to further share immersion program enthusiasm, experience, and expertise.