WCCUSD Mandarin Immersion Program

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WCCImmersion [at] gmail.com

Parent Q&A

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  • Hello Berkeley Parents,

    I hope you read this in good health. We currently have a daughter in Kindergarten at a BUSD school. However, we would like for her to learn in a mandarin immersion setting. We are looking into transferring OUT of Berkeley Unified and applying to a district which has a mandarin immersion school, West Contra Costa Unified. Does anyone have any experience in this?

    I have emailed both BUSD Admissions and WCCUSD transfer office, but both are closed due to COVID19. I understand the demand for public immersion programs are high, and we would not be a priority getting in, but we would like to at least see the process through.

    Any insight and feedback greatly appreciated. 

    The WCCUSD transfer office staff is working remotely, so our understanding is things are getting processed but it's slower than usual (which is saying something). While I can't speak to the BUSD side, my crystal ball says WCCUSD is probably going to be happy to have more students - however, you will have to follow up closer to the start of the school year. Don't expect to hear anything until early August at the very earliest, and it's more like the week before school starts. Just keep calling and emailing starting the Monday before WCCUSD school starts.

    You might also consider Yu Ming, which is a Mandarin-immersion charter school. It's in North Oakland, so maybe not as convenient as Richmond, but you wouldn't need to do an interdistrict transfer. No idea how hard it is to do a late application for first grade, though, or how much Mandarin proficiency (if any) your child needs.

    The Mandarin school is a gem.  It is diverse and vibrant. Active parent community. Pursue it.  Contact the principal Eric Peterson who can help to facilitate. 

    You may want to email the WCMS principal, Dr. Peterson. He's very responsive and might be able to give you some guidance.

    If you do decide to transfer on the basis of a specific program, start closely following the new district’s public discussion and announcements about budget cuts.  The cuts coming to California public schools are severe and debilitating, beyond anything we’ve seen in recent years.  You should not assume any particular program is safe.  Districts will be forced to consider cuts they never would have thought possible just to avoid bankruptcy, and whatever horrible cuts they make immediately will not be the end.  Most districts learned of the magnitude of the cuts past the deadline to to lay off teachers for Fall 2020.  Layoffs are more likely to initially focus on other staff (along with reducing through voluntary teacher vacancies).  So just because the program survives into 2020-21 doesn’t mean it will be there in 2021-22, when districts will have time to give contractually required notice of teacher layoffs. So my advice is to understand the ground is shifting right now and stay informed.  

    Our daughter goes to the mandarin immersion school at WCCUSD.  We are very happy with the school and the community, and how they have handled the challenges of this year.  Initially I think they took out of district transfers, but now the school is more established and has had a waiting list for all grades.  I think your chances for an intra district transfer would be slim, unless that is changed by parents keeping kids home to home school.

    You could certainly try to contact the WCMS office to discuss it with them, but I think to have a shot you would have to move to the the district, or look at other private school options.  

    Thank you, Parents, for all of your feedback and contributions --- this is all helpful information for us to consider as we move forward in the process. Thank you!

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