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FAQs Mandarin Immersion ABES

Mandarin Immersion Program at Adobe Bluffs
 Frequently Asked Questions


What are the qualifications of the Mandarin teacher?

An elementary school Mandarin teacher is required to have the California Multiple Subject Credential with a Mandarin BCLAD (Bilingual Crosscultural, Language, and Academic Development).

What is the program model?

We are what’s called a 50/50 Dual Language Immersion (DLI) program. In dual language immersion programs, students are taught literacy and academic content in English and a target language. The goals of dual language are for students to develop high levels of language proficiency and literacy in both languages, to demonstrate high levels of academic achievement, and to develop an appreciation for and an understanding of diverse cultures.

How much Mandarin can I expect my child to learn in the kinder year?

Initially, speaking and listening are emphasized. By the end of the year, most kindergarteners will learn to recognize 80-100 Mandarin characters.  Students will be taught based on the Common Core State Standards in Mandarin and English.

When will my child be fluent in Mandarin?

We use ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) Can-Do Statements as progress indicators for our Mandarin learners. They are checklists to assess what they “can do” with language in different modes of communication. Below is the learning objectives by end of Kindergarten year:

ACTFL Can Do Statements

Interpretive Listening Presentational Speaking Interpretive Reading Presentational Writing
Novice-Low Novice-Low Novice-Low Novice-Low
I can recognize a few memorized words and phrases when hearing them spoken.
I can understand a few courtesy phrases such as greetings.
I can present information about myself and some other very familiar topics using single words or memorized phrases. 
I can introduce myself to a group.
I can recognize high-frequency characters. I can identify a few memorized words and phrases when I read. 
I can connect some characters to their meanings.
I can copy some familiar characters or phrases on the wall or board, in a book.
I can copy a simple phrase like “Happy Birthday”, “Happy Holidays”, etc.

How is student’s language proficiency assessed?

There will be formative assessment, summative assessment and curriculum-based assessment developed by teachers to monitor students’ learning throughout the year. Report card reflecting students’ Mandarin proficiency will also be developed. In third grade, we plan to either adopt ACTFL Assessment of Performance Toward Proficiency in Languages (AAPPL) or Youth Chinese Test (YCT) from Education Department of China.

Is traditional or simplified Chinese used in the classrooms?

Simplified characters are taught in the classrooms.

Do you teach Pinyin?

Pinyin will be introduced in third grade.

How will the kids learn English?

Students will take all the District and State-required assessments in English. English Language Arts is a required component of their instructional day.

What enrichment classes are in the kindergarten schedule?

Aside from the Mandarin component, the Immersion class operates exactly the same as the English kindergarten class at Adobe Bluffs. It is not separated from the rest of the school.

How can I help my child learn the language if I do not speak Mandarin?

Teachers will send home supporting materials when appropriate. If we purchase online resources,  parents can help their children with reviewing the content online.

May I volunteer in the Mandarin classroom if I do not speak Mandarin?

It is suggested that volunteers do not speak to the Chinese teacher in English in the presence of the children but it is possible to do quiet work for the teacher. Volunteers are invited to help in the classroom at the discretion of the teachers and by appointment only. Parents who are interested in volunteering on campus during school hours should visit the office to obtain the required forms.

For what grades is the Mandarin Immersion Program offered?

Currently, the Mandarin Immersion Program is offered to kindergarten to 3rd grade. We’ll build the program to 5th grade in the coming years.

May I enroll my child in the Mandarin Immersion program in a later grade?

A child may enter the program in Kindergarten. Entrance into any grade beyond Kindergarten requires passing language tests to indicate proficiency in both Mandarin and English when there is a space.

How are the Mandarin Program students projected to score on standardized tests?

Research indicates that when children are proficient in two languages, they score higher than their monolingual peers on standardized tests.

What does the Kinder immersion daily schedule look like?

Students spend half of the school day learning Mandarin and the other half of the day learning English.

For regular school days---
7:45 am--10:45 am ELA (English Language Arts) or MLA (Mandarin Language Arts)
Morning Recess: 9:45 am -10:15 am
10:45 am--2:05 pm CLA or ELA
Lunch Recess: 11:25--12:05 pm
For Thursdays---
7:45 am--9:20 am ELA or CLA
10:15 am --12:25 pm CLA or ELA

What subjects are taught in Mandarin and/or English?

English / 2.5 HOURS Mandarin /  2.5 HOURS
English Language Arts Science Social Studies reinforcement
Math (Concepts and word problems)
Mandarin Chinese Language Arts
Social Studies
Science (Reinforcement) Math (Fluency and Practice)

Will my child have a chance to learn Mandarin if he/she is not enrolled in the Immersion program?

Yes. In ABES, we offer school-wide Mandarin FLES (Foreign Language for Elementary School) program from TK to 5th grade. Students are exposed in Mandarin language and culture two times a week for 30 minutes each lesson.

How many immersion class are you going to have?

It varies based on community interest, teacher availability, school capacity, etc.

Will the Mandarin program continue throughout middle school and high school?

Yes. There will be a K-12 Mandarin program made available. The participating middle school will be Black Mountain Middle School and the high school will be Westview High School. 

Can current kindergarten students be retained in order to be enrolled in immersion program?

The answer is no. If any current kinder student whether in Adobe Bluffs or other elementary schools needs to be retained for any justified reasons, the student will be retained to regular kindergarten classroom.

How are applicants ranked for conditional enrollment?


Applicants eligibility list will be ranked based on the following priorities:

  1. Students who live in Adobe Bluffs attendance area
  2. Students who have siblings at Adobe Bluffs
  3. Students who attended Adobe Bluffs Preschool or TK Program.
    • Attended 3 years with verification of completion
    • Attended 2 years with verification of completion
    • Attended 1 year with verification of completion
  4. Children of PUSD employees
    • Working more that 50% of the school year
  5. Students who live in PUSD’s attendance area
  6. Students who live outside PUSD’s attendance area
  • All students who live within Adobe Bluffs attendance area (priority #1) will be at the top of the list. Within that category, students will be ranked based upon other qualifications they have (priorities 2-6).
  • AB=Adobe Bluffs resident         S=has sibling in AB     P=Attended  Adobe preschool T=Attended Adobe TK E=child of a PUSD employee   PUSD=residents of PUSD (not ABES)


When do we need the lottery process?

When there are two or more applicants meeting the same criteria, the school will conduct a transparent public lottery to determine eligibility. Students meeting the same criteria will be grouped together. For example:

When there are two or more applicants meeting the same criteria, the school will conduct a transparent public lottery to determine eligibility. Students meeting the same criteria will be grouped together. For example:
  • Group 1: Students who live in Adobe Bluffs attendance area with siblings/preschool/TK experience in ABES
  • Group 2: Students who live in Adobe Bluffs attendance area but with no siblings/preschool/TK experience in ABES
  • Group 3: Students who don’t live in Adobe Bluffs attendance area but have siblings/preschool/TK experience  in ABES
  • Group 4: Students who don’t live in Adobe Bluffs attendance area with no siblings in ABES (PUSD attendance area)
  • Group 5: Student outside the PUSD attendance area.

The lottery will be held at school at a time convenient for parents or a representative to be present if they wish. The names will be placed in a box and drawn one at a time to rank the students. All names will be drawn and ranked. After the spots are filled, the students not placed will be on the waiting list in the order they were drawn. 

We encourage all applicants in any of the above groups to enroll in our rigorous Mandarin FLES program regardless of the lottery outcome.

If you have questions about our program, e-mail [email protected]