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Fountain Valley School Teacher Rafael Muciño Among Education Leaders Chosen by Chinese Sponsors for Outreach Tour

Program Seeks to Build, Expand Chinese Foreign Language Programs in Local U.S. Schools

Language Arts Department Chair Rafael Muciño of Fountain Valley School of Colorado is one of the education leaders who will travel to China for a one-week tour in an effort to build and expand Chinese language programs in U.S. schools.

In its second year, the Chinese Bridge Delegation aims to expose school decision-makers to the rich history and culture of a country whose language is the most widely spoken in the world. Ultimately, the sponsors who take part in this program aspire to foster a better understanding of Chinese culture and fluency in the language among U.S. students.

With more than 800 delegates scheduled for this year> '> s trip, set for early July, participation has doubled since last year. A variety of educators, including teachers, administrators and language coordinators, will begin their tour in Beijing and then travel to other cities and provinces where they will meet with local education commissions. Participants will have an opportunity to talk with Chinese education leaders, build sister schools and network with other U.S. educators who are working toward the same goal of offering Chinese language programs to their students.

"We hope this program will eventually help to offer more students in our country the opportunity to become fluent in the most widely spoken language in the world," said College Board President Gaston Caperton. " We’re building a bridge that will aid in strengthening our ties, our future economic partnerships and our appreciation of our respective cultures."

Beyond cultural enrichment, the trip will also provide incentives and strategies for educators to return to the United States better equipped to support the growth of Chinese language and culture programs in their own districts. Chinese is the national language of the more than 1.3 billion inhabitants of China and millions more ethnic Chinese around the world. While more than 200 million Chinese schoolchildren are studying English-often begun as early as the second grade-experts estimate no more than 50,000 U.S. students are studying Chinese.

Says Muciño: "The new Mandarin course at FVS will provide our students with a "non-western" language option which would aim to provide language competency in Mandarin Chinese and a broad overview of Chinese culture and history. Offering Mandarin will help us achieve some of our core values at FVS: awareness of the richness and depth not only of the English and western languages, but of global languages, preparedness for a global marketplace, and appreciation of the vast cultural diversity in the world."

The Chinese Bridge Delegation is sponsored by Hanban, China's Office of Chinese Language Council International, in partnership with the College Board, the Chinese Language Association of Secondary-Elementary Schools, the National Council of State Supervisors for Languages, the National Association of District Supervisors of Foreign Languages and Chinese Consulates in the United States.

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. In addition to the Chinese Bridge Delegation, the partnership features other programs intended to help educators promote Chinese language and culture programs. For more information about these programs, visit www.collegeboard.com/k12chinese

Established by the Chinese government in 1987, Hanban is China's official agency authorized to promote Chinese language and culture internationally, fulfilling a function similar to that of both the United Kingdom’s British Council and France’s Alliance Française.

Fountain Valley School website: www.fvs.edu







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