How to apply for the 2023-24 school year

Watch video

Prior to completing the online application for the program, interested families of incoming kindergarten students should:

  1. View the brief parent information session video
  2. Attend one parent information session (please call the school to find out how)


Families must complete and submit an online application for their child:

All applicants who submitted an application prior to March 14, at 3 p.m. were accepted in the program.

There are still spaces available for the 2023-24 school year. Please call the school to find out how to apply at 360-313-1850.


Please contact Franklin Elementary at 360-313-1850 for information about the Mandarin Language Learning Program.

Mandarin Language Learning Program

  • Mandarin Immersion, language, second, foreign, Franklin Elementary
  • Mandarin Immersion, language, second, foreign, Franklin Elementary
  • Entrance to Franklin Elementary School

The Mandarin Language Learning 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. Mandarin language instruction continues with a focus on literacy at Jason Lee Middle School and Gaiser Middle School. At the high school level, students can continue their Mandarin learning at Columbia River High School.

Students throughout Vancouver Public Schools may apply.

At the elementary level, students are immersed in the target language. Beginning in kindergarten, 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. At VPS middle schools, world language courses are taken as electives.

At the high school level, students receive one period of Mandarin instruction.

• Be successful in all academic subjects
• Achieve true bilingualism and biliteracy of participating students
• Acquire the knowledge, skills and dispositions to be competent global citizens

To ensure achievement and success for students in the Mandarin Language Learning Program, it is necessary for families to make a long-term commitment to the program. 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 learning 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 in both languages by fifth grade.

• Students develop cultural literacy as well as enhanced cognitive skills. Language learning program 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 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 should view the Parent Information Session video and attend a Parent Information Session prior to completing the online application for the program. Families must complete and submit the online application for their child. Applications must be submitted 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).

Dates to know

Contact us

Woody Howard, principalFranklin Elementary School
5206 Franklin St., Vancouver, WA 98663
Megan Vickery, principalJason Lee Middle School
8500 NW 9th St., Vancouver, WA 98665
Alex Otoupal, principalColumbia River High School
800 NW 99th St., Vancouver, WA 98665


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.