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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Mandarin Immersion?
Language immersion is a unique educational model where children learn to think, read, write and communicate naturally in two languages: English and the target language (Mandarin). Students are “immersed” in the Mandarin language. They study different subjects through the target Mandarin language.
Why begin learning a foreign language in kindergarten Immersion program?
Years of research indicates that immersion is the most effective way of learning a foreign language. Young children are more likely to develop authentic and native-like pronunciation. Starting at a young age, students are able to reach advanced levels of proficiency.
What are the goals of Mandarin Immersion Program?
Our goals are bilingual, biliteracy and multiculturalism. Language Immersion students will develop the awareness of global citizenship and increase their job opportunities in the future.
Will there be some orientation dates in the near future where we can learn more about the MIP program?
Yes. In early December we will start to have orientations and school tours. It will be posted on our school website as the dates are approaching. You are welcome to join us!
What’s the policy on language immersion program admission?
Board policy 5111.5 (b) states that families who live in our immersion school attendance area are considered first, then siblings, CUSD families, and CUSD employees. If space is available, we will consider families outside CUSD.
How early can I apply for kindergarten in the Mandarin Immersion Program?
Your child must be 5 years old by September 1st. Applications for the Mandarin Immersion program are accepted during an established timeline.
Can my student enter the program after Kindergarten?
Students need to meet certain criteria if they’d like to enter after kindergarten. Please call the district office at (949) 234-9259 for more information.
How large is the Kindergarten class? What's the teacher-student ratio?
Currently our Kindergarten class’ teacher and student ratio is 1 to 32. Each kindergarten class has a bilingual classroom assistant.
How long is the school day? Is there full-day Kindergarten?
Our school day in grades 1-5 is from 7:45am-2:05pm (M, T, W, F). We have early-out on Thursdays and school is from 7:45-12:50.
We have a half-day Kindergarten Program. Early Birds attend from 7:45-11:38 (M-F). Late Birds attend from 9:15-1:08, except on Thursdays when early birds and late birds attend together from 7:45-11:38. 
If you are looking for a full-day Kindergarten option, YMCA provides a Kindergarten Plus program in Mandarin. Please contact director Michelle Phan for more information.
What instructional model will be used?
Our program is a one-way language immersion program. 
K/1st Grades- 80% Mandarin/ 20% English
2nd Grade- 70% Mandarin/30 % English
3rd-5th Grades- 50% Mandarin/50% English

Do you teach simplified or traditional characters?
Our program will start with traditional characters in elementary school and then introduce simplified characters in middle school. We feel that knowing both systems will give our students an advantage and more opportunities in our global society. 

Do you teach Taiwanese phonetics (ZhuYin) or Pinyin?
We teach Zhuyin starting in Kindergarten. Pinyin is introduced in the 3rd grade. 
What are the qualifications of a Mandarin Immersion Program (MIP) teacher?
Our Mandarin Immersion Teachers are required to hold a California Multiple Subject Credential with a Bilingual Authorization in Mandarin (BAMA) or a BCLAD (Bilingual, Cross-Cultural, Language, and Academic Development) Certificate in Mandarin. 

Do I need to speak Mandarin Chinese in order to help my child?
Not at all! Our program was designed for students of families who do not speak Mandarin. Teachers will send home supporting materials when appropriate. An Online component is available for home access. Parents can help their students review the content online at home. 

Does this program continue in middle and high school?
Mandarin Immersion Program is a K-12 program that continues through 12th grade.