JMEC Blog

SFUSD High School Language Pathway Expansion Community Input
Thursday, September 4th 6:00-7:00pm
Abraham Lincoln High School Library
2162-24th Avenue, 94116   2nd Floor

You are invited to share your thoughts on proposed High School Language Pathway Expansion 

·        SFUSD currently has formal language pathways which began in Kindergarten and continue through 8th grade in:  Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin and Spanish
·        SFUSD currently enrolls one High School Pathway in Cantonese.
·       Learn about the minimum requirements and other considerations for expanding Language pathways into High School.
·       What might a High School Language Pathway look like?
·       Benefits of Language Pathways for Students
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Input meeting on High School for Mandarin Pathway
Attendance: about 20 parents 

Michele Anberg-Espinosa opened the meeting by saying that high school is a priority, but not yet planned…..we are hopeful but we have to look at all the moving parts.
Parent points to Lincoln High School as a model many times.

Here is what Lincoln currently does:
It is called a Chinese Immersion program, and students must have graduated from either Hoover’s Cantonese Immersion program OR Alice Fong Yu.  At the middle school level, both programs take Social Studies in Cantonese but switch to Mandarin Language Arts in 7th grade. At Lincoln High School, students in the Chinese Immersion program commit to taking 3 courses at Lincoln to stay in this program: Freshman year Biology (taught in Cantonese, Mandarin, and English), Mandarin 4, and then AP Mandarin. After students pass the AP exam in 10th grade, they are encouraged to 1) do community service using Chinese and 2) can continue at City College in their Mandarin certificate program.

Michele’s comments on Lincoln:
We want to make sure that there is clarity. We can’t say for sure if it will be at the same site as there are so many factors that need to be taken into account.
What has been planned so far: there are plans to move into high school. It needs to have a content area and a language area (that is the ideal).

At the end of 8th grade, your child will take a placement test. (Michele said in November). The placement test may waive the UC language requirement for your student.
Michele then asked for feedback on the following areas:

Important considerations for parents:
·         Will the site prepare my kid for college?
·         Academic quality
·         Teacher quality
·         The program commitment cannot deter my student from taking advantage of other opportunities in the school
·         Making good use of current programs/ slotting into something that already has existing resources
·         When are they ready for the AP?
·         A site that wants us
·         Transportation issues
·         English language program has to be strong
·         Resources to support the program
Content areas (from parents):
·         Some thought around content that makes sense
·         Honors versus not honors
·         As parents, there is no consensus among us about preference for the content piece

There was a big discussion amongst the group on the second “content” piece that needs to be taught in Mandarin. Many parents do not agree with Social Studies being taught in Chinese. Some expressed issues with Math being taught in Chinese, especially when your kid is having issues in math. Teaching Biology at the high school level also raised concerns as the students have not had much exposure to scientific terms in Chinese. Based on SFUSD definition of the program, a second content piece needs to be taught in Chinese, and the choices are limited- math, science, or social studies.  

Location preferences from parents:
·         Where a program currently exists
·         Proximity to City College or SFSU
·         Where AP Mandarin already exists
·         As close to the existing schools as possible
·         At a site where there is a principal who really wants it
 
Other comments:
·         Want the ability to recruit others to test into this program at the high school level
Parents were told that there needs to be at least 33 students (or 66) for each grade level to run a class at high school. The current 7th grade class has about 33, so students need to be 100% committed or the district needs to allow students to test in.
 
Other comments from Michele:
Current students would not have to test into pathway but will take world language placement test.
Students not in the pathway can test in.
33 needed to make program roll.
We have an SFUSD seal and State seal of bi-literacy. (English requirement and World Language requirement)
 
Timeline:
Michele: I am with you…as fast as we can…..no later than the end of September or early October.
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