The Mandarin Immersion Program is an academically challenging and enriching program for developing linguistic proficiency in Mandarin and English. Students enter the program in kindergarten and continue through fifth grade at Ben Franklin Elementary School. In 2016-17, the program has expanded to sixth and eighth grade at Jason Lee Middle School.
Students throughout Vancouver Public Schools may apply.
At the kindergarten level, approximately 90 percent of instruction will be in Mandarin and 10 percent in English to facilitate early Mandarin Chinese language acquisition and literacy development.
As students transition to higher grades at the elementary level, more of the instruction shifts to English, so that in the upper grades, there will be 50/50 Mandarin/English instruction. At the middle school level, students receive two periods of instruction in Mandarin.
To ensure achievement and success for students in the Mandarin Immersion Program, it is necessary for families to commit to the program for a minimum of six years (kindergarten through fifth grade). Active parent support is extremely important to the long-term success of the program.
• Bilingual students generally demonstrate greater academic gains.
Research shows that students in language immersion programs typically develop strong academic skills in addition to becoming proficient in both languages.
• Students have the opportunity to achieve true bilingualism and biliteracy in Mandarin and English. Students learn languages more easily at an early age. Immersing and instructing students in a second language provides an effective vehicle for students to learn to speak, read and write fluently in both languages by fifth grade.
• Students develop cultural literacy as well as enhanced cognitive skills. Language immersion students benefit from the ability to communicate with people from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. They also typically experience academic achievement at or above their single-language peers. Research covering more than 40 years of language immersion instruction shows that students receive a variety of cognitive benefits such as mental flexibility, nonverbal problem-solving abilities and enhanced critical thinking skills.
Interested families are required to attend one of the Parent Information Meetings offered at the school prior to submitting an application for the program. Families must complete and submit an application for their child. Applications for kindergarten will be available at Franklin Elementary and online. Applications must be submitted to Franklin Elementary by the deadline to be entered into the lottery. (If there are more applicants than spaces in the program, students will be selected through a lottery process.)
Students residing within the school boundaries of Franklin Elementary will be placed in the first lottery drawing. The second drawing will be for students outside of the school boundary, but within the Vancouver Public Schools’ boundaries. The third drawing will be for students outside of Vancouver Public School District (per district regulations). All applicants will be notified of the lottery outcome.
Once students are admitted to the program, they will have continued placement in the program each year without having to reapply. Annual renewal of boundary exceptions for students living outside Franklin boundaries is required.
Siblings of students admitted to the program are not guaranteed placement in the program, nor are they given preference on a waiting list based on their sibling’s admission to the program. Parents may apply for a boundary exception for a sibling to attend Franklin Elementary. Regular boundary exception policies apply (Regulation 5115, sections II–V).
Woody Howard, principalFranklin Elementary School
5206 Franklin St., Vancouver, WA 98663
Parents of students who live outside of school boundaries and are selected for this program will be required to provide their own transportation to and from school for as long as the student participates in the program. In limited circumstances, students who live close to the school’s boundaries may be able to ride a bus if the bus is not full and the student is able to travel safely to a nearby stop for pickup/dropoff.