Oakland Schools Chinese Language and Culture Initiative FAQ by vmarcelo


									                    Oakland Schools Chinese Language
                       and Culture Initiative FAQ

Why should Oakland County schools offer
students the opportunity to learn Chinese
language and culture?
It is clear that China will play a large role in the
world economically and politically. Our
students, community leaders, and decision-
makers need to be able to communicate
effectively with the Chinese and have some
understanding of the Chinese culture. But there
are other reasons as well:
     • New Michigan high school requirements
         call for students to complete two credits
         in languages other than English in order         Which Oakland County school districts are
         to graduate from high school                     participating?
     • Globalization has made international               All 28 local districts, serving a student
         learning a new basic for our students to         population of close to 195,000 students, will
         be successful                                    offer units on Chinese culture as part of their
     • Learning a world language serves                   Social Studies curriculum in Fall, 2007.
         learning itself, especially in the early
         grades where it aids learning to read and        The Oakland initiative builds on four districts
         write, and makes learning world                  (Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Novi, and
         languages later in life easier                   Troy) that already offer Mandarin Chinese.
     • Oakland County Executive L. Brooks                 Following are some of the new Mandarin
         Patterson has asked for our support in           Chinese programs that will be starting this
         opening the door for increased                   school year:
         commerce with China while giving our                 • Middle and high school language
         students a head start in the global arena               acquisition programs in Royal Oak and
                                                                 CASA (serving Berkley, Clawson,
What are the components of the Chinese                           Ferndale, Lamphere, Madison, and Oak
language and culture initiative?                                 Park)
There are four major components of the new                    • Preschool/primary grade immersion
initiative:                                                      programs with guest teachers in Berkley
     • Building awareness of China’s history                     and Lamphere
         through units of study added to the State            • Upper elementary through high school
         Social Studies curriculum at the second,                online Mandarin Chinese classes in
         third and seventh grade levels                          Avondale, Lamphere, Walled Lake, and
     • Offering Preschool through 12th grade                     Waterford. These courses have been
         language acquisition programs to learn                  developed by the Michigan State
         Mandarin Chinese                                        University Confucius Institute and
     • Offering state-of-the-art online and                      follow the Michigan World Language
         distance learning programs to learn                     Standards and Benchmarks
         Mandarin Chinese                                     • Adult education courses at Oakland
     • Providing exploratory and enrichment                      Schools
         opportunities to students and adults on
         China and its language

                                              Page 1 • 10/18/07
                    Oakland Schools Chinese Language
                       and Culture Initiative FAQ

What are the costs to Oakland County school              provides an opportunity for guest teachers to
districts?                                               bring back to China what they learn.
Local districts will incur little added cost due to
support from grants, businesses, foundations,            Must guest teachers have work visas?
and Oakland Schools. Early contributors –                Yes. Their visas enable guest teachers to be paid
Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan,             a stipend and receive training. Guest teachers
ArvinMeritor, Chrysler, Lear Corporation,                are granted a leave of absence from China’s
Global Strategic Connections, L.L.C., and                Ministry of Education for one to three years and
American Axle & Manufacturing Inc. - have                are required to identify a local district as their
jump-started this initiative. Other grants and           work site for their visa.
partnerships will be sought for $2 million in
seed funding that will be required over the next         Who are the partners on this initiative?
three to five years. During that time local              Oakland Schools and the Superintendents of the
districts will incorporate these program costs           28 Oakland County school districts are
into their regular operating budgets, as they            collaborating closely with Oakland County
work to meet the new Michigan high school                government, businesses, and foundations.
requirement for world languages.                         Memoranda of understanding with several
                                                         agencies under the Government of China have
How are guest teachers selected and what are             also been signed.
their credentials?
Oakland Schools has signed memoranda of                  Michigan colleges and universities are working
understanding with Chinese education agencies            closely with us:
through which China will send eligible, certified            • Michigan State University
teachers to Oakland County as guest teachers.                • Wayne State University
These guest teachers have teaching licenses                  • Oakland University
issued by the Chinese Ministry of Education and              • University of Michigan
have been certified as teachers by their                     • Eastern Michigan University
universities. In Oakland County, some of the
guest teachers will team-teach with Michigan             Why have these partners come together on
certified English-speaking classroom teachers.           this Chinese Initiative?
Interviews are being conducted by Oakland                China is all over the news every day. The
Schools and local district administrators using          headlines include every topic imaginable. There
video conferencing to bridge the physical                are extraordinary economic predictions, stories
distance between Oakland County, Michigan                about the growing middle class, and disturbing
and China.                                               stories as well. China is a developing nation
                                                         and it is going through critical growth issues as
Will guest teachers apply for Michigan                   it works through its own era of industrialization.
teaching licenses?                                       But regardless of what we read, the fact remains
The guest teachers will be in Oakland County             – China is becoming a market economy, one of
for one year and will not need a Michigan                the world’s largest economies and largest
license. These teachers give the initiative a            consumers. China is grappling with its present
quick start while we work with local universities        as it works for its future and our American
to fast-track certification programs for Michigan        economy needs to be part of that future.
teachers to teach Chinese. This exchange also

                                             Page 2 • 10/18/07
                   Oakland Schools Chinese Language
                      and Culture Initiative FAQ

Knowing the culture and language of an                     •    Increase number of students and adults
economic partner better prepares us to do                       studying Chinese language and culture
business with that partner.                                •    Increase language proficiency and
                                                                cultural knowledge of those who
                                                           •    Provide resources for Chinese families
                                                                relocating to Oakland County
                                                           •    Enhance opportunities for Chinese
                                                                businesses to locate in Oakland County.

                                                        What is Oakland Schools’ role in this
                                                        Oakland Schools is coordinating the countywide
                                                        initiative, capitalizing on trained professionals
                                                        already employed by the intermediate school
                                                        district to develop curriculum, oversee program
Is this initiative sustainable?                         quality, integrate with existing programs, and
The Chinese language and culture initiative first       evaluate the efforts. Oakland Schools is also
demonstrates the ability of Oakland Schools and         seeking funding and overseeing the hiring of
our partners to get this project up and running         qualified guest teachers.
quickly. Its sustainability will be demonstrated
in two ways – first, school districts will be able      Who can I contact for more information
to use the project’s start-up funding to help them      about this program?
budget the costs of the new high school                 Please contact Dr. Tresa Zumsteg, Deputy
language requirement; and second, time will be          Superintendent, Oakland Schools, 248.209.2141
gained to train Michigan teachers to deliver            or tresa.zumsteg@oakland.k12.mi.us
Mandarin Chinese language instruction. Most
importantly, this initiative is a model we can use
as we expand to other international learning
opportunities for our students.

How will we know if this program is
Rigorous objectives for the program will be
measured through pre- and post-testing as well
as surveying on the following measures:
                                                                                       2111 Pontiac Lake Road
                                                                                      Waterford, MI 48328-2736
                                                            Oakland Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color,
                                                             national origin, age, sex, marital status, religion or disability. For
                                                            employment matters, contact the Director of Human Resources at
                                                            248.209.2059. For all other matters, contact the Director of Legal
                                                            Affairs at 248.209.2062, 2111 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford, MI

                                            Page 3 • 10/18/07

To top