Orlando Schools Aim to Improve Language Program

Written by Stacey Andell for Schools K-12

Orlando Schools Administrators Visit China

Several Orlando School administrators will be among the nearly four hundred curriculum developers and administrators from around the nation to visit China in an effort to create and expand educational programs that teach Chinese language and culture in America. The trip to China will last one week from June 27 through July 5. The trip is in cooperation with Hanban, China’s Office of Chinese Language Council International, in partnership with the College Board, the Chinese Language Association of Secondary-Elementary Schools (CLASS), and the National Council of State Supervisors for Languages (NCSSFL). The visit will focus on the incentives and strategies that educators can take back to their own schools and use to support the growth of Chinese programs. Currently there are only about 24,000 students in the US studying Chinese compared with close to 150 million Chinese students studying English. During the trip, educators will have an opportunity to meet with Chinese education leaders, build sister school and city ties, and network with other U.S. school leaders who are bringing Chinese language programs to their districts and schools. Orlando Schools want to ensure they are prepared for the new opportunities to offer more language education at younger grades.

In surveys conducted in the Orlando Schools concerning Advanced Placement courses several high schools expressed an interest in offering an AP Chinese course for the 2006-2007 school year. The problem was that many of these schools do not have a teacher of Chinese nor do they see a way to fund such a program. But that may be changing thanks to new programs that unite the governments and educators of China and the US. In April 2006, the College Board and Hanban announced the formation of a partnership to build and expand Chinese language programs in U.S. schools. The partnership features other programs especially intended to help educators who would like to create or grow a Chinese language and culture program in their schools or districts. Because of this program plans have been made to allow 250 guest teachers from China to work in schools in the United States. Also some American teachers will begin training at Beijing Normal University and Shanghai International Studies University. The first sessions begin this summer with sixty teachers from across the nation attending special intensive courses to gain state certification to teach Chinese classes for the new school year.

Orlando Schools Recruit teachers from Puerto Rico

Orlando Schools have hired over sixty new teachers from Puerto Rico during a two-day hiring fair held in Puerto Rico. The aim was to hire veteran certified teachers with special skills in teaching Gifted programs and Limited English Proficiency students. Mathematics and Science teachers were also recruited due to the shortage of math and science teachers in some Orlando schools. Orlando Schools will be hiring 2,400 new teachers for the 2006-2007 school and be opening nine new schools. Many teachers from Puerto Rico are attracted to the Orlando Schools because of the constancy that working in a strong educational environment can provide, the lifestyle that living in the Orlando area offers and the closeness of Orlando to Puerto Rico.