Charlotte's First Chinese Immersion Charter School Opens Fall 2018
Raise a global citizen through a language immersion program
What is an immersion program?
All immersion programs are based on the concept of additive bilingualism, or simply put, two languages are better than one. However, immersion programs are not "language programs". Unlike a traditional language program, an immersion program focuses on how to use a new language to learn rather than just practicing a language. In an language immersion classroom, the target language becomes the medium of instruction for academic content and language acquisition and content studies (math, science, social studies, etc.) occur at the same time.
Coming to Charlotte for the 2018-2019 school year, the East Voyager Academy will be an innovative new Chinese Immersion charter school planning to open with Pre-K through fourth grade programs, adding a grade each year until eight grade. It requires no prior knowledge of Chinese for students to enter the program, opening up rare opportunities for families with children already in elementary school. This whole-school Chinese immersion program’s goals for all students are: strong academics, English-Chinese proficiency, and intercultural competence.
Why do Parents Choose Immersion Programs?
Parents choose immersion programs to pursue the ultimate goal for their children: academic excellence. Research has shown that in general, children in immersion bilingual programs do better academically than children who only speak one language. A child’s first language doesn’t suffer by participating in an immersion program, learning a second language actually stimulates a different part of the brain. Bilingual students gain additional cognitive, academic, and social benefits.
Research has also shown that these students develop increased problem solving and critical thinking skills as well as a deeper understanding of another culture. While it is difficult to measure with tests, observation has shown that students in language immersion programs develop "big dreams" for their future, increased confidence, pride and self-efficacy, perseverance and cognitive flexibility.
As technology has made the world more interconnected, never before have people from different countries been able to come together to share knowledge and do business. There is a great need for talented individuals who are conversant with other cultures and who can communicate well in English and in another language.
What is the Curriculum?
The immersion school curriculum follows the same core curriculum as all North Carolina public schools, but it is taught in Chinese so that students acquire content studies and language skills at the same time. For example, when students in regular CMS classes are learning about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., students of East Voyager Academy will also learn to write his name and present his achievements in Chinese.
The program uses the same English textbooks as in traditional public schools, even for the core subjects that are taught in Chinese. Therefore, parents do not need a background in Chinese to participate in an immersion school. Parents are able to follow their child's academic progress and help with homework.
China is the second largest economy in the world and is a destination for more than $113 billion in U.S. exports, yet very few Americans can speak Chinese. All Standard & Poor’s 500 companies are doing business in China. Most recently, President Donald Trump announced up to $250 billion in business deals between U.S. and Chinese companies during his trip to China in November 2017. Currently, approximately 300 million Chinese students are learning to speak English but only about 200,000 U.S. students are learning Chinese. To address this issue, a nationwide campaign to grow the number of U.S. K-12 students learning Mandarin to one million by 2020 is under way. There are currently 35 whole-school Chinese immersion schools in the U.S., five of which are charter schools with long waiting lists.
East Voyager Academy is the first whole school Chinese immersion public charter school in North Carolina. The school is scheduled to open in fall 2018 in Charlotte. It is located at 7429 Tuckaseegee Rd., Charlotte, NC 28214. The mission of EVA is to graduate students with English-Chinese proficiency, strong academics, and intercultural competence. Online enrollment is now open for pre-K to 4th Grade. For more information visit www.eastvoyager.org.