July 14, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Broadway School Broadens Its Cultural Horizons

These days, it takes more than just common sense and a college degree to remain competitive in the global business and market arenas. Proficiency in more than one language offers a large advantage to job candidates, especially if that language happens to be the most widely-spoken one in the world.

China has quickly risen as a world power – economically, socially, and politically. More people speak Mandarin Chinese than any other language in the world. 1,365,053,177 people, to be exact.

Broadway Elementary School, has decided to take advantage of this and become the first Mandarin-teaching school on the Westside. Though many private schools in the area have begun offering mandarin classes, Broadway will become the only public school to do so.

Their mandarin immersion program, beginning with the first day of school on September 13, will incorporate a 50-50 model. Half of the classes will be taught in English and the other half in Mandarin.

“The overall goal is for our students to become academically-proficient in both languages, both English and Mandarin, so they will be biliteral, bilingual, and also bicultural,“ Broadway School Principal, Susan Wang, said.
To achieve this, a part of the immersion will be to teach the reading and writing of mandarin characters.
All of the classes will be taught by teachers who have earned Califoria Multiple Subject credentials and state-required Mandarin language certification.

The program will be available to students of all ages, including Kindergarteners, if they show a specific interest to learn or to be fluent in both languages.

Broadway Elementary is the second school in LAUSD with a Mandarin immersion program, following City Terrace in East Los Angeles. The concept of opening more of these schools, and creating new classes to learn Mandarin has become a trend in metropolitan areas and business oriented cities.
“The need came from more and more parents realizing the influence of China for the world, preparing our next generation to understand the culture and the language certainly will prepare them to be successful in the global workforce,†Wang said.

The school’s goal is to have a 50-50 split between native Mandarin speakers and native English speakers to the classroom. “At the moment there are about 25% Mandarin and 75% English at the school. It is harder to recruit [Mandarin speakers] on the Westside,†she said. This will fully diversify the campus and make it easier to immerse the students in the culture they are learning.

Immersion programs have been successful in two schools, Starr King and Jose Ortega Elementary School in the San Fransico area. But Broadway hopes to continue this legacy and bring more success to the Foreign Language in Elementary Schools (FLES) program by teaching young students in the area about the importance of a multi-cultural education.

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