Capistrano Unified School District will be the first district in Orange County with a Mandarin Chinese language immersion program, which will start in the 2012-2013 academic year.
The district's board of trustees voted Monday for the program, which is one of about 80 similar programs in the U.S.
"A challenging economic environment is no excuse for not being able to offer new and innovative educational programs requested by our community," Board Clerk John M. Alpay stated in a press release. "There is intense demand for this language, and in an era of school choice and competition, our ability to offer this program to our families reaffirms this district's status as an innovative provider of quality education."
The district noted that while English is known as the third most spoken language in the world, Mandarin is the most spoken — with more than 1 billion speakers. Parents have shown their support for the program with 165 families committing their children to it.
"Allowing students this intense language focus will ensure that they are bilingual and biliterate when they graduate, which gives them an advantage over many of their peers who will not have this opportunity," Trustee Anna Bryson stated in the release.
Students will begin the program in kindergarten or first grade, with 80% of the lessons taught in Mandarin.
For more information about the Mandarin immersion program, contact Director of Curriculum and Instructional Support Amy Bryant at (949) 234-9254.