SAN GABRIEL, CA – McKinley Elementary School will expand its language development programs to include an after-school Mandarin language class for second- and third-grade students that aims to increase cultural understanding and teach bilingual skills essential to academic and professional success.

The tuition-based after-school Mandarin language program, offered in partnership with MindQuest Learning, was piloted with a class of 15 fourth- and fifth-graders in 2016-17. The program was offered to the school’s higher-grade levels based on student interest.

Enrollment is now open for the second class, which will meet from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays beginning August 22. Tuition is $60 a month, with course capacity set at 15 students.

Assistant Principal Tuoi Nguyen said the program, which includes a mix of native English and Mandarin speakers, will provide students with the opportunity to expand their understanding of different cultures while learning essential language concepts.

Nguyen said the expansion is part of McKinley Elementary’s goal to offer Mandarin and Spanish language classes at all grade levels. The school plans to extend the Mandarin class to kindergarten and first grade students in 2018-19.

The Spanish dual-language immersion program, which operates during the regular school day for kindergarten through third-grade students, is slated for schoolwide implementation by 2019-20.

“Research shows that students who embrace learning a second language will have a strong foundation for academic achievement,” SGUSD Superintendent Dr. John Pappalardo said. “We believe this dual-language immersion program will have lasting positive effects on our students that will help them succeed in their academics and when entering the workforce.”