School Visits

Optional school visits to Chinese language and culture programs in the greater Los Angeles area give participants the opportunity to visit elementary and secondary schools, with your choice of different student age groups and proficiency levels (as space allows). These programs have a track record of high-quality instruction and student achievement. School visits require advance registration and a separate fee. Departure and return times vary. Please note that some Thursday preconference workshops and school visits run concurrently. Participants may choose to attend a half-day school visit in order to participate in an afternoon preconference workshop.

Thursday, May 8

Route A [FULL]: Elementary Immersion in a Mixed Heritage Community Opened in 1882, Castelar Elementary School is the 2nd oldest continuously operating school in the L.A. Unified School District. For much of the time it was home to a bilingual Cantonese program until the English-only movement brought it to an end. Today, Castelar has returned to its roots by offering a Mandarin immersion program for grades K–3. The student population consists mainly of lower income residents, largely of Chinese-Vietnamese or Latino origin. Castelar is located in L.A.’s Chinatown, the first and only planned Chinatown in the U.S. built for and by Chinese-Americans. The visit will include classroom observations, lunch, a guided visit of the Chinese American Museum, and a talk by Gay Yuen, Ph.D., Professor of Education, CSULA, and Board President, Chinese American Museum.

8:15 AM Depart from the Westin Bonaventure Hotel
8:40 Arrival at Castelar & classroom observation
11:40 Lunch with principal and Dr. Yuen at a nearby Chinese restaurant
12:30 PM Walk to Chinese American Museum
1:00 Tour of Chinese American Museum
2:30 Depart for Westin Bonaventure Hotel

Route B [FULL]: Elementary Immersion Model in a Non-Heritage Community The artistic, creative Venice community is home to Broadway Elementary School, boasting a diversity of socio-economic and linguistic cultures. The school’s beautiful, historic brick building has stood since 1926; however, in 2010 the school was on the verge of closing. Thanks to the implementation of a dual-language program—and the strong advocacy of the principal and parents—they are at full enrollment today. Broadway is a Confucius Classroom and follows a 50% English and 50% Mandarin teaching model. Each classroom consists of students who are fluent in either Mandarin or English and who serve as each other’s language models. Broadway’s principal will share her story of challenge and success at implementing an immersion program.

7:45 AM Depart from the Westin Bonaventure Hotel
8:45 Arrival at Broadway
9:00 Classroom observation & discussions
11:45 Depart for Westin Bonaventure Hotel (with bag lunches on bus)

Route C: Chinese FLES at the Middle and High School Level The first conversion charter school launched in the country, Vaughn Next Century Learning Center features five unique campuses that make up the Vaughn Learning Corridor. The Mandarin Chinese program is in its 8th year at the high school campus, Vaughn International Studies Academy, where all students are required to take at least two years of Mandarin, and many opt to take years 3 and 4 during their junior and senior years. Recently, the Mandarin program expanded and is now offered as an elective at the 8th grade level as well. In addition to a Chinese language program, Vaughn seeks to prepare its students to become true “global citizens” by exposing them to rich cultural experiences. Each year, Vaughn hosts several Chinese student groups from Beijing, Shenyang, and Shanghai, and Vaughn faculty and staff host “home-stay” experiences for the visiting students. Moreover, Vaughn has several “sister schools” in Beijing and Shanghai, and each year Vaughn high school students are able to apply for an annual educational expedition to China. Dr. Yvonne Chan, principal, will greet the group and give a presentation on the history, mission, and vision of Vaughn. In addition, the high school administration will be available for questions regarding the Mandarin program, educational exchanges, and student travel to China. The day will include a brief tour of each of Vaughn’s campuses and classroom observations of the three Mandarin teachers in the high school. A highlight of the tour will be a student panel—with Q&A to follow—discussing the Vaughn student experience (by students who have been within Vaughn since elementary and have also participated in the Chinese educational exchange program).

7:45 AM Depart from the Westin Bonaventure Hotel
9:00 Arrival at Vaughn & presentation by Dr. Chan
10:30 Tour of each campus & classroom visits
12:00 PM Lunch at Vaughn
12:45 Continuing tours & classroom visits
2:00 Student panel & administration Q&A
2:40 Depart for Westin Bonaventure Hotel

Route E: Multiple Languages at the High School Level Granada Hills Charter High School is home to the strongest world language program in the city, with foreign language, AP, and heritage language classes in Mandarin, Arabic, Spanish, Korean, French, Italian, and American Sign Language. Visitors will spend the morning visiting several of these classes and seeing how pedagogical practices translate across cultures. Meet Maggie Chen, teacher, and Brandon Zaslow, World Language Department chair, both of whom are also involved in the California World Language Project based at Occidental College. They will talk about using authentic materials and best practices for Chinese language instruction to meet Common Core standards. Following lunch on the school campus, visitors will tour The Huntington’s famed Chinese garden (Suzhou-style)—the largest outside of China—and see a presentation on how their Education Department uses the garden to teach Chinese culture.

6:45 AM Depart from the Westin Bonaventure Hotel
7:30 Arrival at Granada Hills; meeting with administration in Library
8:00 Classroom observations (led by Mandarin students)
11:40 Boxed lunch served in library with presentation by Brandon & Maggie
12:40 PM Depart for the Huntington
1:40 Arrive at the Huntington for tour and presentation by Huntington staff
3:15 Depart for Westin Bonaventure Hotel

Route F: Chinese Elementary FLES, Korean Dual Language, Spanish Maintenance Language Visit the Ambassador School of Global Education (ASGE) which features FLES in Mandarin, Maintenance in Spanish, and Dual Language in Korean for grades K–5. Opened in 2010-2011 as an innovative Pilot school in the L.A. Unified School District, ASGE is part of Asia Society’s International Studies School Network and is part of the Confucius Classroom Network. Located on the historic Robert F. Kennedy campus, formerly the Ambassador Hotel, ASGE is an elementary school that embraces project-based learning around interdisciplinary units of study. ASGE students learn in multi-age classes that are structured around block scheduling with Council in their Advisory classes. Enjoy a presentation by staff, classroom observations, and a campus tour.

8:00 AM Depart from the Westin Bonaventure Hotel
8:45 Arrival at Ambassador & meeting with administration
9:15 Classroom observations of Mandarin FLES, dual Spanish & Korean
10:15 School tour
11:15 Depart for Westin Bonaventure Hotel (with bag lunches on bus)

Schedules subject to change. Special thanks to host schools for opening their classrooms to conference participants, and to the Confucius Institute at UCLA for help in organizing the preconference school visits.