Mission and Program Overview
The Mission of the Cupertino Language Immersion Program (CLIP) is to prepare students to live and compete in a global and culturally diverse workplace by providing instruction in both Mandarin and English. The program instills curiosity, intellectual flexibility, and a lifelong enjoyment of learning in our children.
Our program’s goal is to give students of the Cupertino Union School District the opportunity to develop high levels of proficiency in understanding, speaking, reading, and writing English and Mandarin. These students will be able to communicate effectively in both languages and achieve proficiency in all academic subjects that will meet or exceed the Common Core State Standards for California. This program is based on a model where the target language, Mandarin, is a vehicle of instruction, not the focus. Additionally, this program will develop in our children an international perspective and appreciation for cultural diversity.
Our program's objectives are:
- To give children an opportunity to learn two languages in early childhood (when they acquire new language easily).
- To enhance learning and intellectual flexibility through the study of two languages.
- To provide language learning opportunities for English- speaking students with non-native English speakers in our community.
- To prepare students to live and compete in a global and culturally diverse workplace.
- To instill in our children curiosity and a lifelong enjoyment of learning.
This program uses a two-way immersion education model that has been developed so that children will become fully bi-literate in both English and Mandarin. These children will not merely be bilingual – speaking two languages – but will be bi-literate – that is, not only speaking, but also reading, writing, and thinking in both English and Mandarin. The program has also been developed to culturally enrich our children’s education. Most experts believe that to truly learn a language, you must understand its culture.
Students in our immersion program also develop academic competency in both English and Mandarin. It is our goal that all students will meet or exceed the Common Core State Standards for California by the time they graduate 8th grade.
Children acquire both languages naturally in the classroom setting as they participate in hands-on learning experiences. The district's Core curriculum (math, science, social studies, etc.) is taught in English and in Mandarin in different percentages of time and within different subjects depending on grade level.
The Mandarin language arts curriculum starts with a phonetic written system called BoPoMoFo, then transitions to traditional Chinese characters. Students will be introduced to both Han Yu Pin Yin (phonetic system used in China) and simplified Chinese characters in upper elementary and middle school.
The Cupertino Union School District supports this program with teachers, facilities, and the Core English curriculum portion of the program. All aspects of the Mandarin portion of the curriculum have been financed by outside sources, primarily through grants and direct donations from the parents and supporters of the program. Funds raised have financed curriculum development, teacher development, teachers’ salaries for curriculum development time, and all Mandarin-specific classroom-teaching materials (books, posters, workbooks, writing materials, and instructional assistants).
CLIP is made up of a series of sequential grades from K-8 with one, two, or three classes per grade. CLIP families participate with the PTA, school site councils, and fundraising for the school as a whole. Our classrooms benefit from the work of the local school PTA. Today the program provides nearly 600 children from grades K-8 with a two-way immersion education in English and Mandarin.