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District gets grant for Chinese program

Thanks to this new grant, Oxford students will be able to continue learning how to read and write the Chinese language. File photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
September 28, 2011 - Oxford Community Schools received another honor and grant for its Chinese efforts.

The district announced it had been accepted as a member of the third cohort of schools in the Asia Society Confucius Classroom Network.

They were recognized for their potential as a model Chinese language program, strong local leadership, commitment to international exchange and collaboration and their global vision for the future.

"We are honored to be recognized as one of the top 100 Chinese language and cultural programs in the United States," Superintendent of Oxford Community Schools Dr. William Skilling said in an email.

In addition to being recognized as one of the top Chinese teaching schools in America, the district will also be receiving a $10,000 grant in order to attend conferences, purchase materials and do professional development.

"The following years you can seek up to 50 percent reimbursement for the cost of a Chinese language teacher each year, receive funding to send administrators, teachers and students to China each year," Skilling added. "Also, you are given the opportunity yearly to select textbooks and curriculum materials to support the teaching of Mandarin Chinese."

According to Skilling, the grant money is funded by the Hanban, while the Asia Society administers the funds and provides support for Confucius Classrooms Networks in the United States.

Skilling added the district could seek other Confucius Classroom grants from American universities that have Confucius Institutes. According to Dr. Skilling, he was asked to apply for the program when he visited China last December.

"We were asked to apply for this program due to (the) size of (our) program and other initiatives by a representative of Hanban when I was in Beijing," he said.

Joining this network allows the district to continue to share best practices with teachers from Northeast Yucai School Group in Shenyang, China.

The Asia Society Confucius Classroom Network is a national network of 100 exemplary Chinese language programs in more than 100 elementary, middle and high schools in 27 states within the United States and the District of Columbia.

It was created by a partnership between the International Expert Advisory Committee and the Hanban, a affiliate of the Chinese Ministry of Education, which supports the teaching and learning of Chinese language and culture in countries around the world.

The goal of the program to establish high quality, sustainable Chinese language programs all over the United States.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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