KJZZ is a service of Rio Salado College,
and Maricopa Community Colleges

Copyright © 2024 KJZZ/Rio Salado College/MCCCD
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Mandarin Chinese Immersion Programs Grow In Popularity Among Valley Public Schools

More Valley parents are opting to send their kindergartners to mandarin Chinese immersion programs. An elementary school in Scottsdale is joining a growing group of public schools to offer the curriculum.

Officials at Desert Canyon Elementary say their new program has been in the works for about two years.

Principal Kristin Kinghorn says it was developed after hearing from both parents and teachers that foreign-language acquisition was a top priority. She explained they chose mandarin because it was the second-most spoken language in the world.

"And we started looking at some of the neighboring states that offer a mandarin immersion program and the great success that they’ve had and the success that the student have had," Kinghorn said. "And how powerful it is that when you can speak English and mandarin you can speak to 50 percent of the population."

According to the Arizona Department of Education, nine schools statewide offer Mandarin immersion, but officials there add they expect that number to grow.

Carrie Jung Senior Field Correspondent, Education Desk Carrie Jung began her public radio career in Albuquerque, N.M., where she fell in love with the diverse cultural scene and unique political environment of the Southwest. Jung has been heard on KJZZ since 2013 when she served as a regular contributor to the Fronteras Desk from KUNM Albuquerque. She covered several major stories there including New Mexico's Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and Albuquerque's failed voter initiative to ban late-term abortions. Jung has also contributed stories about environmental and Native American issues to NPR's Morning Edition, PRI's The World, Al Jazeera America, WNYC's The Takeaway, and National Native News. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in marketing, both from Clemson University. When Jung isn't producing content for KJZZ she can usually be found buried beneath mounds of fabric and quilting supplies. She recently co-authored a book, "Sweet And Simple Sewing," with her mother and sister, who are fabric designers.