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Bay City Schools to be One of Three Chinese Language Preschools in State

Donations Secured for One Classroom for 20 Preschoolers, District Announces

May 7, 2006       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Preschoolers in Chinese language immersion program at 3E International School in Chaoyang District, Beijing.

Bay City soon will become part of a new United States' initiative into Chinese language instruction and teacher development.

With the increasing development of China's all-round national power, there has been increased interest in the U.S. toward learning Chinese language and culture.

The Bay City Public Schools last year launched a collaboration with Michigan State University that has borne fruit in establishment of a Chinese Immersion Preschool, Supt. Carolyn C. Wierda reported in a letter to supporters of the project.

"On May 15 MSU will officially announce the establishment of three 3E International Academies in Michigan -- One of them being within the Bay City Public Schools," said the superintendent.

TheBay City program is part of the Education for Global Citizenship Project (EGC).

Other local school officials involved in the project include Suzanne M. Murphy, director, Gifted and Talented Program, and Jeffery M. Rogers, Mackensen Elementary principal and daycare administrator.

The 3E International Academy will follow the Global Citizenship Curriculum -- a bilingual, bicultural and dual pedagogy curriculum developed by the U.S.-China Center for Research on Educational Excellence at MSU.

"At this time, we have secured donations and/or grants to operate one classroom for 20 preschoolers (a combined classroom of three 1/2 - five year olds," said Mrs. Wierda.

The curriculum is currently being used in a model school in Beijing operated by Hong Kong based Sunwah Education Foundation, that also funded the U.S.-China Center at MSU.

"We will continue to seek additional tax-deductible donations from individuals or businesses in order to fund a second classroom," the superintendent said. "Also, we are gathering names of parents interested in sending their children to our preschool and will host informational meetings in the next few months." The EGC Project is continuing its negotiations to establish EGC preschools by fall of 2006. "We have found that there is intense interest in such a program on the part of both school districts and their local politicians and community members," said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon.

"In the interim, we are planning to start a K-5 after-school program in the Lansing area in March. The program will offer 1.5 hour sessions twice a week for 10 weeks. The program will focus on developing Mandarin language skills and exposure to Chinese culture."

MSU officials also are in the process of writing grants to expand the EGC Schools model to other districts and states, she said, adding:.

"We are planning to approach private foundations to seek their support for this innovative project. We hope that we will shortly have funding that will allow us to bring the EGC School model to other locations and to provide support for their start up."

MSU's Nancy Romig and Nicole Ellefson visited the Portland Oregon Public Schools Mandarin immersion school in February. While there, they had a chance to learn more about how a public school bureaucracy works to create innovative language immersion programs.

In China, the EGC Project pilot school, the 3E International Academy, continuesin its first year. Using their experiences with students, the staff is providing the US-China Center with important feedback to refine the school model. Please visit the school's website at

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at

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