BRES CHINESE IMMERSION PROGRAM
Watch the video below for an overview of the BRES Chinese Immersion Program and the lottery process for the 2023-2024 school year.
View the slideshow from the video information session here.
你好, Bayard Rustin Families!
Welcome to our BRES community and our Chinese Immersion Program!
My name is Alisa Gan. I am the Chinese Immersion program coordinator. When I am not teaching Chinese to the non-immersion classes, I work with all of the Chinese Immersion (CI) teachers to provide the best teaching practices and resources. I also meet regularly with coordinators of other language immersion programs in MCPS to get county updates as well as to share resources. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about our Chinese Language program here at BRES.
Here is some information about our Chinese Language Program:
What is an immersion program?
In an immersion program, the target language, Chinese, is used for instruction of content in a variety of subjects that include math, science, and social studies. Vocabulary in the immersion setting is not learned as an isolated subject. Rather, students learn vocabulary through the academic curriculum. Students acquire the language in an environment where they explore and apply different academic concepts using the target language. The goal is for students to achieve a proficient level of the target language as they learn grade-specific academic content.
In an immersion setting, students acquire a language in a natural way while learning different concepts. Not only does this method give them the advantage of learning a language at a young age, but they are also getting an extra tool to make sense of the world around them. Years of research have supported the benefits of multilingualism for the brain. In addition, we are living in a more and more diverse and interconnected world. The ability to speak more than one language can open doors to more career opportunities and opportunities to forge connections to new cultures while developing a more accepting and peaceful community.
Here is a short video about the benefits of being bilingual.
What is the difference between partial immersion and full immersion?
In a full immersion setting, all subject areas are taught in the target language. In a partial immersion setting, some subjects are taught in the target language.
What do I need to know about Chinese immersion at BRES?
At BRES, Chinese immersion is a K-5 partial immersion program. Math, science, and social studies are taught in Chinese, while reading and writing are taught in English. All specials (Music, Art, P.E.) are also taught in English. Students have two teachers—their Chinese teacher and their English teacher. Students spend half of their day with the Chinese teacher learning in Chinese and the other half with their English teacher learning in English. Students in our immersion program follow the same curricula as their peers in English-only classrooms throughout MCPS. There is one immersion class in each grade level, Kindergarten through 5th grade. Our immersion classes have lunch and recess with their grade-level peers.
How will learning Chinese impact my child learning English?
Research has shown that learning Chinese does not have a negative impact on children’s learning of English. Years of first-hand experiences within our immersion programs also confirm such a finding. In addition, we found that learning Chinese supports our students learning of English as well as our other subject matters.
How can I support my child at home if I don’t know Chinese?
You can support your child at home in any language(s) you feel comfortable with by using that language to read to them regularly, to talk with them about any topics such as their day in school, their friends, new learnings from the day, etc. Our principal sends out weekly emails and phone calls to update families on important events happening in school. Our teachers also send weekly dojo messages that give you updates on what students are doing in class.
You can also support your child by exploring and exposing them to the rich culture within our local communities. Field trips to Asian supermarkets or Chinese restaurants are always fun and educational. Museums like the Freer and Sackler Gallery or the Kennedy Center in DC always have high-quality exhibitions or performances representing various cultures that spark interesting conversations. There are also yearly cultural events such as the Lunar New Year celebration within the Washingtonian area.
In regards to homework, our teachers thoroughly explain what students need to do in class. Homework should be a repeat or practice of what students have done in class. Chinese teachers only send home math homework. If your child has difficulty completing homework, please contact your child’s Chinese teacher and they are glad to help.
What resources in Chinese are available?
- AV2: AV2 is an online resource of early reader nonfiction ebooks for students. Students can change the language of the text with a simple click. You can find a link in the database section of the BRES media center webpage. No login and password are required. Click here to access it at home.
- Middlebury: Middlebury is an online Chinese program we use in school to supplement the learning of Chinese. Students practice listening, speaking, and reading Chinese on the platform. Students can also access it at home with internet access. The website to log in is https://languages.fueleducation.com/login. Their username is their MCPS ID number and the password is chinese1. If it does not work, please contact me at email@example.com.
- Joy Reader: This is an app with a subscription that allows access to various authentic reading materials. The reading materials are all categorized into different ability levels and have the functionality to read aloud.
How can my child get into the immersion program in BRES?
These are the steps of the application process:
- Families fill out and submit an interest form.
- Immersion applications are run through a computerized lottery process.
- Families are notified of the result of the lottery as well as their place on the waitlist.
- Families must respond within 3 days of notification to the DCCAPS whether or not they accept the invitation to our program.
- Once they accept the invitation, families notify their local school and BRES to start the school transfer process.
The application starts in early spring every year. For more information, please visit the MCPS Immersion Programs website.
BRES also hosts information sessions for interested families. Please check our school website for dates and times.
How can my child get into the immersion program in BRES after Kindergarten?
Students who apply to our immersion program after Kindergarten have to go through the same application process. Additionally, students who are invited through the lottery in 2nd-5th grade will need to take and pass a language proficiency assessment in order to get into our program. This assessment is entirely in Mandarin Chinese and covers the following subject areas: listening/understanding, speaking, reading, writing, and math. For more details about the test, please contact Alisa Gan (firstname.lastname@example.org) at BRES.
Is transportation provided?
MCPS provides transportation from central stops for elementary school immersion students for the areas served by the program. Transportation may be provided for many of the special programs to and from central stops (usually at MCPS schools) determined by the MCPS Department of Transportation.
It is important to note that stops may be several miles from the student’s home. Parents are responsible for arranging transportation to and from central stops. Bus trips are usually significantly longer than local school transportation.
For more information, please visit the Department of Transportation.
What other language immersion programs are there in MCPS?
MCPS offers seven language immersion programs.
Bayard Rustin, Potomac
William Tyler Page, Burnt Mills, Rock Creek Forest
Maryvale, Sligo Creek
For more information about these programs, please check out the MCPS Immersion Programs website.
What option does my child have if she/he wants to continue Chinese immersion in middle school and high school?
Our 5th grade students, if they choose to continue in Chinese immersion, articulate to Herbert Hoover Middle school. Hoover MS has a rigorous language program that prepares students for the AP Chinese class in high school. Students entering the Chinese Immersion program will no longer automatically articulate to Churchill High School from Hoover Middle School, but will have to submit a COSA and have it approved in order to attend Churchill High School. While in middle school, students will continue to work on reading, writing, and speaking skills with the goal of reaching a level 4 when they start high school.
If my child is not in the immersion program, what opportunity will she have to learn Chinese?
All students at BRES who are not in the immersion program also learn Chinese! They receive two 45-minute Chinese lessons a month in person and asynchronously. They also have weekly Chinese exposure and practice using an online platform called Middlebury and Duolingo.
- Marian, Viorica (2012). "The Cognitive Benefits of Being Bilingual". Cerebrum : The Dana Forum on Brain Science. 2012: 13. PMC 3583091. PMID 23447799.
- Konnikova, Maria (2015-01-22). "Is Bilingualism Really an Advantage?". The New Yorker.
- Chinnuswamy, Yamini (August 24, 2015). "How Language Shapes Our Ability to Process Information". ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 10, 2018.