By Boston Renaissance Charter Public School
Boston Renaissance Charter Public School received the 2013 Confucius Classroom of the Year Award. Renaissance is one of just five schools to receive the award — three in the United States and two overseas — out of a network of 600 schools around the globe.
“Boston Renaissance was selected for its strong leadership and outstanding track record in developing its Chinese language and culture program, and a demonstrated commitment to international exchange and collaboration, and a global vision for the future for its students and community,” said Jeff Wang, director of Chinese language initiatives and education at the Asia Society.
Providing the infrastructure for the development of effective and sustainable Chinese language programs for American students, Asia Society’s Confucius Classrooms Network works to strengthen Americans’ understanding of China and build connections between young Chinese and American students.
“Boston Renaissance is honored to receive the 2013 Confucius Classroom of the Year Award, and we congratulate our team of dedicated Mandarin teachers,” said Roger F. Harris, superintendent and CEO of Boston Renaissance. “Exposing urban children to second languages and foreign cultures should be an imperative of the U.S. education system. These experiences open students’ minds and broaden their perspectives. Learning Chinese language and culture, in particular, is going to help prepare these children for successful participation in the 21st century global economy. We hope this award will help raise awareness to the importance of broadening the curriculum in urban schools.”
Responding to President Obama’s “100,000 Strong Initiative,” a national effort designed in 2009 to increase the number of American students learning Chinese and studying in China, Boston Renaissance began a collaborative and dynamic Chinese program of its own. The Mandarin Chinese program is now a nationally and internationally acclaimed framework for instruction, assessment, and evaluation that brings a structured process for teaching Mandarin to urban children, while integrating innovative practices into the fabric of the school.
Renaissance students begin learning Mandarin Chinese as a second language in Kindergarten1 (age 4) and continue progressing all the way through 6th grade. BRCPS employs 5 full-and part-time Mandarin instructors, who work with the students on acquisition, articulation, and comprehension through structured instructional practice, curriculum, and assessment. The program began in 2009 with 88 K1 and K2 students and now reaches more than 700 students in Grades K-4. Mandarin instruction will be school-wide, reaching nearly 950 students in grades K-6, in school year 2015-2016.