Mandarin Dual Language Immersion » Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

San Marino Unified School District (SMUSD)

Mandarin Dual Language Immersion Program (MDLIP)

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Questions

Answers 

What is a dual language immersion program?

Dual language immersion is an educational model that integrates native English speakers and native speakers of a target language (Mandarin) in the same classroom for the entire school day. Students learn to speak, write and read at grade level in both languages with the  goals of promoting high academic achievement, first and second language development, and cross-cultural understanding for all students.


In dual language immersion programs, language learning takes place primarily through content instruction. Academic subjects are taught to all students through both English and the target language (Mandarin). 

What are the 3 main goals of a Dual Language Immersion Program?

The goal of a dual language immersion program is for students to become bilingual, bi-literate, bi-cognitive, culturally competent learners. 

What is SMUSD’s Mandarin Kindergarten Dual Language Immersion Program (MDLIP) model?

SMUSD’s MDLIP is based on the 50:50 model. Instruction focuses not only on mastery of content but also on the acquisition of language, including vocabulary and language structure and functions. This is known as Content Based Instruction (CBI). CBI is designed to integrate language and content, to address second language-learner needs and to encourage the transfer of skills, strategies, and knowledge across languages.

Will SMUSD’s MDLIP provide instruction in Traditional or Simplified Chinese characters?

Traditional Chinese 

Who is eligible for the program?

The dual language immersion program is open to students who are native speakers of Mandarin and/or English.

Can English learners of a language other than the Target language (Mandarin) in a Mandarin/English dual-language immersion program participate?

English learners in a Mandarin/English dual-language immersion program should be Mandarin speakers. However, speakers of other languages who are proficient in English and another language could be eligible for enrollment in the program.

Is this program a fit for my child, our family?

The dual language immersion program is a multi-year commitment. For children to gain academic success and language proficiency, families must be willing and able to commit to this program. Parents must carefully consider if the program is a fit for their family. 

Should students enter a dual language immersion program after first grade?

Typically,  dual language programs do not accept English-only speakers after Kindergarten. Bilingual and biliterate students may be eligible to enter the program at any time by passing the target language (Mandarin) proficiency assessment and should space be available.

How will content/curriculum be delivered in the 50:50 model?

All content/curriculum will be taught in both languages. 

What curriculum will be used  in the Mandarin Kindergarten Dual Immersion Program?

SMUSD adopted curriculum and Better Immersion will be used for core instructional materials. Additional supplemental instructional materials may be used to complement and reinforce instruction and learning.

Will pinyin be introduced in kindergarten?

No, pinyin will not be introduced in kindergarten.

How will I help my child with homework if I do not speak the Target language (Mandarin)?

By providing students with a strong foundation in their first language, parents are helping to lay the groundwork for strong second language skills. Parents can support literacy skills as well as content knowledge in the child’s first language by reading together and learning about the topics the child is learning in school. For example, when students learn about community helpers in Mandarin, children who are already familiar with the topic in English will transfer the knowledge, making the lesson in Mandarin more comprehensible.


Parents can also support students at home by making sure that they have the right environment and tools to get homework done (e.g., a quiet space and enough time, paper, dictionaries in both languages, writing utensils, and art supplies such as construction paper, paste, tape, and colored makers). 

How is a dual language immersion program integrated with other programs at a school site?

The dual language program is not and should not be viewed as a separate program. The school develops a common vision of equity for all students that values language and culture. The same California State standards-based curriculum is taught in the dual language immersion program that is taught in other school programs. 

Is there an assessment prior to attending a Dual Language Immersion Program?

Parents may apply if their child is a non-native speaker or native speaker of the program's target language (Mandarin). 

A student who applies and is accepted as a native speaker (Mandarin-dominant speaker) will be assessed using the Foreign Language Oral Skills Evaluation Matrix (FLOSEM) to verify native-language proficiency prior to final registration. 

What does the Foreign Language Observation Evaluation Matrix (FLOSEM) assess?

The FLOSEM assesses student’s oral proficiency skills in grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.

If I am interested in having my child attend a dual language immersion program, how do I apply?

Families may visit SMUSD’s Mandarin Dual Language Immersion page for instructions on how to apply to the program.

Note: Submission of an interest survey does not confirm registration.

If I complete the interest survey do I need to pre register my child for kindergarten?

Yes. After submitting the interest survey, all new SMUSD families must pre register their child for kindergarten at Enrollment & Registration web page starting March 1, 2023

I do not reside in San Marino, how do I apply for the DLI program?

Families may visit SMUSD’s Mandarin Dual Language Immersion page for instructions on how to apply to the program.

Note: Submission of an interest survey does not confirm registration.

My child has a current IEP, is my child eligible for the program?

Yes, however program placement will be determined on student’s current IEP and IEP team recommendation.

Do we have enough resources/ teachers for all the students who want to get in this program?

We are offering our first cohort of dual language immersion starting in kindergarten, with one cohort in two classes in Mandarin and English, so they can split their 50/50 on each language learning. The cohort will accommodate 48 students, 24 in one classroom, and 24 in another classroom. If we have more interest than our available seats, we will employ a lottery to select students into the program.

Is the dual Language program only offered in Kindergarten next year? Or will it be available to additional grade levels? If additional, What are the requirements to test in? And how many kids will be accepted?

The cohort of 48 students will start in upcoming new school year, 24 in Mandarin class, and 24 in English class. We do anticipate recirculating our students to the next grade level, these students will be continuing learning English and Mandarin in next Grade 1 class in school year 2024-2025. The program will continue to grow from one grade level to the next till it reaches Grade 5.

Many school districts offer dual immersion. Why is San Marino USD only doing it now?

There are many school districts in the State of California, and also numbers of schools are doing dual immersion programs. Many schools are offering more than one dual language program, such as Spanish, Armenian, Italian, German, Mandarin, and so on.

Will dual immersion be eventually offered at Valentine as well?

Once we implement our first cohort at Carver Elementary School, we will closely monitor and evaluate the interest and effectiveness of the program, then make the determination of what next year will look like.

Parents at Valentine invited to attend this zoom. Will a DI program be offered at Valentine?

Once we implement our first cohort at Carver Elementary School, we will closely monitor and evaluate the interest and effectiveness of the program, then make the determination of what next year will look like.

How does this impact the total class sizes at carver?

We do not anticipate any class size changes, and any impact to the total class sizes at any grade levels at the Carver ES.

I have twins, if one twin gets in through the lottery, does the other twin also get in?

This registration employs to the current registration guideline, and each student is an individual, thus each student will be put into the lottery and get picked randomly.

what is the likelihood for interdistrict students to be able to enroll for the dual immersion program, given that there are only 48 spots & interdistrict students are not eligible to apply until 2 months after?

Interdistrict students still have an opportunity to participate in the dual immersion program. We start accepting Interdistrict applications on May 1st. If all seats are occupied, students will be put on a wait list. If students enter the Mandarin side, we will have to assess their Mandarin proficiency level using FLOSEM, but no assessment is necessary for English side, and if space permits.

How do we determine if our student is a native speaker or non-native speaker if he speaks some Mandarin as well as English?

We use the Mandarin Dual Language Immersion Interest Survey to determine your child language fluency level in Mandarin or English. Your child will have an assessment (FLOSEM) if you indicated some Mandarin fluency on the survey. Once a score is high enough, students will assign to the Mandarin side, if not they will assign to the English side.

this program is only for Kindgarten 2023, then the parents are even not here, right?

This program is for all new Kindergarten students that will enroll at the SMUSD's school year 2023-2024, and our current TK students.

Is there any accommodation for students that are entering first grade in San Marino in 2023?

We are not offering a Mandarin Dual Language Immersion Program for Grade 1. This program is only available for Kindergarten students for the school year 2023-2024.

Is there a social emotional component to learning that would be integrated in the dual immersion program?

The same social emotional component including social, well-being, and mental health learning that takes place in the regular classroom will also be administered at the dual language immersion classroom.

Will this be offered at Valentine?

Once we implement our first cohort at Carver Elementary School, we will closely monitor and evaluate the interest and effectiveness of the program, then make the determination of what next year will look like.

Will Valentine provide a Dual Language program?

Once we implement our first cohort at Carver Elementary School, we will closely monitor and evaluate the interest and effectiveness of the program, then make the determination of what next year will look like.

Is the FLOSEM test administered to interdistrict students? If so, when?

We use the Mandarin Dual Language Immersion Interest Survey to determine your child language fluency level in Mandarin or English. Your child will have an assessment (FLOSEM) if you indicated some Mandarin fluency on the survey. Once a score is high enough, students will assign to the Mandarin side, if not they will assign to the English side.

Why only Carver? Why is there no such program at Valentine?

Once we implement our first cohort at Carver Elementary School, we will closely monitor and evaluate the interest and effectiveness of the program, then make the determination of what next year will look like.

Can you share how many non-program attendees are on this webinar tonight?

Unable to determine program and non-program attendees on this webinar.

Will there be dual immersion classes for middle and high school as well?

We will be visiting those thoughts and questions as we implement our MDLI Program, and now we will focus this program on elementary level. We do have sometime by the time students matriculate to middle school. There are six years to best implement the MDLIP at the middle and high schools.

What interest are you seeing now? How likely do you expect a lottery will be needed?

We saw lots of interest as we had 84 participants join our virtual webinar in February. Depends on parents interest and participation on the MDLIP's interest survey. We anticipate to employ a lottery if needed.

Is the commitment from SMSD only through 5th grade or will it be considered through high school?

This is our first year to provide MDLIP, we will focus on implementing it at the elementary level, and continue to monitor and evaluate its program progression.

Are the children taught in traditional Chinese writing or both Simplified and traditional?

We will teach traditional Chinese. Simplified Chinese will be introduced in upper grade (4th grade).

Why would the program choose to do complicated Chinese? It will add extra difficulty to students, and it’s not necessary to learn Chinese any better. Thanks.

We want to use the language they learned, we learn and read our Traditional Chinese in surrounding area. Traditional Chinese character is pictorial, and we want students to see the picture and learn how the word becomes the character today.

Are there plans to continue immersion into both middle school and high school curriculum ?

We will be visiting those thoughts and questions as we implement our MDLI Program, and now we will focus this program on elementary level. We do have sometime by the time students matriculate to middle school. There are six years to best implement the MDLIP at the middle and high schools.

What are the specific criteria/determining factors for enrollment of 48 students?

Based on the interest survey, for students that indicated some kind of target language fluency (Chinese), we will FLOSEM test them. If they pass the test, they will go into the native speaker list. Non-native speakers do not need to be FLOSEM tested and they will go into the non-native speakers list. Ideally, a class of 24 students will consist of 50% (12 students) that are native speakers (Chinese) and 50% (12 students) that are non-native speakers.

Does SMUSD have plans to also introduce a Spanish DLI program?

We might explore this program at a later time.

If my child missed the cut off date (December birthday) , can my child still test as an incoming kindergartener for the immersion program?

We follow the same guidelines as the regular kindergarten registration. To be eligible for kindergarten, the child needs to have a birthday between 9/2/2017 to 9/1/2018.

As the students progress to next grade levels, will their Mandarin teacher be a new teacher to SMUSD every year since the program is growing from year to year?

The Mandarin teacher will be a new teacher for each grade level (K to 5th).

If a student cannot handle the DLI program mid year may the student transfer out to the English only class

Learning a new language can be difficult. Students (especially non-native speakers) will have a harder time at first as they are learning a completely new language. When parents accept their child(ren) to the program, they are committed to the program. They will try to stay in the program till the end of elementary school year (5th grade).

If there is a lottery, will priority be given to families that live in the district over those interdistrict that are already in our schools?

If we have more students interested in the program than we have seats, we will need to employ a lottery. The date for the lottery will be on Apr 27. Lottery results will be emailed to parents on May 1st. For Interdistrict students, we will start accepting Interdistrict applications on May 1. If there is space, we will accept Interdistrict students to the program.

Does SMUSD intend to keep this programming going into middle school and high school?

We will be visiting those thoughts and questions as we implement our MDLI Program, and now we will focus this program on elementary level. We do have sometime by the time students matriculate to middle school. There are six years to best implement the MDLIP at the middle and high schools.

Was this immersion program developed in conjunction with the San Marino After School Chinese Program? Are teachers that are currently responsible for teaching that program the same teachers that will be teaching the students in the dual immersion program?

SMUSD intends to collaborate with the CSSM to support students with an opportunity to strengthen learning outside of the school day. The SMUSD Mandarin DLIP teacher will be Mrs. Christine Lin who was introduced at tonight's webinar.

The program starts at kindergarten level, how does it work for TK? Are they in the same pool with new kindergarteners, and get picked like lottery?

If we have more students interested in the program than we have seats, we will need to employ a lottery. We will have a list for native speakers and a list for non-native speakers. Current TK and incoming K students have equal chances to get into the program.

If a student comes to the school district next year, will you have an opening for 1st graders next year in this program?

It depends. Ideally, the kindergarten students for this year will move up to 1st grade next year. If there is space available, students might be able to get into the program. English-only speakers will not be able to enter the program after kindergarten. Bilingual and biliterate students may be eligible to enter the program at any time by passing the target language (Mandarin) proficiency assessment (FLOSEM) and should space be available.

Is the District committed to offering MDLI to the pilot cohorts throughout elementary school? Is it 50%/50% Mandarin/English instruction through the end of elementary school?

Yes, that is the program model that we will be using for the Mandarin Dual Language Immersion Program.

If an interdistrict student is accepted into the program are they guaranteed space in subsequent grade levels?

Once we accepted the interdistrict students into the program, they are in the program. They will move with their cohort to the next grade level & onwards.

When does the program begin? Current Kindergarten students are eligible to apply, is that correct? The how to apply page shows how to apply as a new student. How to apply as the current kindergarten student on May 1st.

This program is for incoming Kindergarten students for the 2023-24 school year. Current kindergarten students will not qualify as they will be going to 1st grade for the 2023-24 school year.

Is it two separate lottery lists, for native and non-native speakers? Do students who do not have full fluency as tested by FLOSEM then go to the non-native lottery?

If we have more students interested in the program than we have seats, we will need to employ a lottery. We will have a list for native speakers and a list for non-native speakers. If the child took the FLOSEM test and did not pass, he/she will be put into the non-native speakers list.

Will students enrolling in TK this year have priority for enrolling into dual immersion Kindergarten next year?

Current TK students and incoming kindergarten students will get an equal chance to get into the program.

Is there a priority for an existing TK student at Carver/Valentine vs a student entering Carver as Kindergarten under MDLI?

Current TK students and incoming kindergarten students will get an equal chance to get into the program.

Will dual language students still participate in grade-wide programs such as library time, music, etc.?

Yes

What would happen if a student who is fluent in mandarin is placed in the english class?

The FLOSEM assessment will be employed to determine Mandarin Language fluency.

How many teachers are in the classroom for the dual immersion classes? Are there any aides? If so, do the aides help children directly or do they help the teacher only?

Kindergarten - we have 1 instructional aide for 3 hours. In the Mandarin DLI program, the kindergarten class will have an instructional aide as well. The aide (native speaker - Chinese) will be focused on instruction & provide support directly to the students & teachers.

What is the curriculum difference from other classes? How about the standard for academic achievement? Thank you!

The same California State standards-based curriculum is taught in the dual language immersion program that is taught in other school programs.

How does the program accommodate for gifted students?

Similar to all classes, differentiation of instruction will be provided to accommodate students who need additional support or challenge.

If the program is unable to get a 50/50 mix of native and non-native speakers (e.g. 30/70), will you still fill up the 48 spots without a 50/50 mix, or will you reduce the number of students in order to get the 50/50 mix?

We wanted to reach a 50/50 mix, but if we don't have it, we will try to adjust to 40/60 or 30/70 mix. We will fill up all the 48 seats.

How many aids will there be in each class?

At this time, the District is working on staffing for all classrooms

Clarification on the question of attendees: can you share how many total attendees were on this webinar tonight?

122

Only students entering Fall 2023 as K and not first grade(current K at carver) are eligible to apply correctly?

Yes, that is correct. The Mandarin Dual Language Immersion Program is for students that will enter kindergarten in the 2023-24 school year.

Will the program be teaching pinyin or any other Chinese phonetic system?

Pinyin will not be introduced in kindergarten.

Is there any data on how well the FIRST cohort of a dual immersion program does (as opposed to overall dual immersion statistics). Will there be extra support provided?

Data monitoring on the first and all subsequent dual language immersion programs will be conducted. Districts researched showed that students in dual immersion programs perform as well or better than students in non-dual immersion programs. It must be noted however that performance varies for each student.

What is the number reached before the lottery is implemented? 48?

If we get more than 24 students (native speakers) and 24 students (non-native speakers), we will need to employ a lottery.

Will this program be open to Chinese Cantonese as Chinese cantonese is also a common dialect?

This program will be based on Chinese/Mandarin.

What Mandarin curriculum will the district be using? Is it purchased or will teachers be writing their own curriculum?

SMUSD adopted curriculum and Better Immersion will be used for core instructional materials. Additional supplemental instructional materials may be used to complement and reinforce instruction and learning.

Since Traditional is being taught. Will Zhuyin be taught as well?

We will not teach Zhuyin.

If we do not get into the lottery, are we just assigned for an English Carver Kinder class?

If your child did not get picked from the lottery, he/she can be put on a waiting list or be assigned to an English only class.

How does the addition of this program affect the after school Chinese program? Will it still continue?

The Chinese School after school and Saturday programs will continue.

Our child has been learning Mandarin from another preschool and tutors. We are non-native speakers and not of Chinese descent, would our child be considered for the fluency side only? Or could they be considered for the English side as well?

If you answer some kind of fluency (Chinese) on the interest survey, your child will take the FLOSEM test. If the child pass the test, he/she will be on the native speakers list. If he/she does not pass the test, he/she will be added to the non-native speakers list.

As the students progress to next grade levels, will their Mandarin teacher be a new teacher to SMUSD every year since the program is growing from year to year?

The Mandarin teacher will be a new teacher for each grade level (K to 5th).

How much of the curriculum will be taught using screens and multimedia technology ?

This will be determined by the teachers, content and accessibility.

Does the student from Carver TK has more chances entering Dual language kindergarten than the student from Valentine TK?

All students (Carver TK and Valentine TK) and incoming kindergarten students will get an equal chance to get into the program.

For students who get in the program, will there be a priority for younger siblings in future years, similar to other programs?

Yes, siblings will get priority in future years.

Will parents be notified on the waiting list and will they be able to start the program from 1st. Grade on?

Yes, parents will be notified if their child(ren) got on the waiting list.


Native speakers - the waiting list will carry on from one year to the next.


Non-native speakers - the waiting list will expire in Dec 2023.


Typically, dual language programs do not accept English-only speakers after Kindergarten. Bilingual and biliterate students may be eligible to enter the program at any time by passing the target language (Mandarin) proficiency assessment and should space be available.

What percentage of Carver TK right now is fluent in Mandarin?

This would be difficult to answer with accuracy as language fluency is not currently assessed upon enrollment.

Will the English teacher for the program be an existing Carver K teacher or a new hire?

For kindergarten, the English teacher is an existing teacher at Carver.

When you refer to “intra-district” are you referring to SMUSD or those specifically districted/adjacent to Carver Elementary or Valentine Elementary? Is there a preference for Carver existing TK students?

Intradistrict - students that wanted to be transferred from Carver to Valentine or vice versa.


All students (Carver TK and Valentine TK) will get an equal chance to get into the program.

Are you aware of any research regarding the success of students in dual immersion programs when the parents don't speak the non-English language?

Districts researched and research data show that students in dual immersion programs perform as well or better than students in non-dual immersion programs. This includes students whose parents do not speak the target language It must be noted however that performance varies for each student.

Do all San Marino residents have the same chance to get into the program or do students in the Carver area get priority over Valentine?

All San Marino residents have the same chance to get into the program.

Will a bell schedule the same as other classes?

Mandarin Dual Language Immersion Program will have the same bell schedule as other classes.

How will behavioral social development be implemented in the curriculum?

The same social emotional component including social, well-being, and mental health learning that takes place in the regular classroom will also be administered in the dual language immersion classroom.

Videos on Dual Language Immersion Programs

Inside California Education; Dual Immersion


The Benefits of a Bilingual Brain


Tarwater Elementary: Dual Language Mandarin Immersion Program

Where can I find out additional information about dual immersion instructional models?

https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/el/er/faq.asp


http://dlpadvocates.org


http://www.bilingualeducation.org/


http://www.carla.umn.edu/index.html


http://www.cal.org/


http://www.clmer.csulb.edu/clmer/


http://www.crede.org/


http://www.cal.org/twi/