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In 2023, Palisades World Language School will add on another language for students to learn. 

The Lake Oswego School District has welcomed two new faces to the team charged with building the new Mandarin-Chinese program from the ground up.

Christy Appleberry and Vicki Yang are substitute teachers and immersion program facilitation partners who will work with officials to develop and construct the new world language program introduced to Palisades World Language School in 2023.

Appleberry has been a teacher for 13 years, and for the past eight she has worked as an immersion teacher at an international school in the Portland-metro area.

Yang has worked in school districts across Oregon. After starting her career as a Japanese and Mandarin teacher, Yang now works as a part-time substitute teacher across the Portland school district and with Appleberry as an school immersion director.

"Vicki and I have been working really hard to create our curriculum. Since we are both very experienced immersion teachers, our background (is) around teaching Chinese. So we understand what kind of curriculum and what type of assessment we would like to use for our school district," Appleberry said.

The new language program will be modeled almost identically to the current Spanish immersion program at Palisades. The school district will have a "one-way" program for students. The focus of the one-way program is for students to become proficient in the language while also mastering all other core classes and subjects.

The program will phase out the number of minutes the language is spoken in class as students advance in school. Students in kindergarten will speak Mandarin Chinese 90% of the time, while fifth graders will talk about the program 50% of the time.

So far, Appleberry and Yang have created a spreadsheet that outlines book samples they would like to use for the new curriculum. The spreadsheet also identifies games, activities, apps and other lesson plans that they believe would benefit primary school learning and enjoyment.

The duo has also hired two teachers to teach the new curriculum to Palisades students.

The immersion teaching duo works with the high school Chinese teacher and LaKeyshua Washington, the district's executive director of curriculum and instruction. They have shadowed elementary school classrooms, as well, to observe how students learn best and with what resources.

"We are also soon setting up a parents focus group to discuss our program model, as well as how they can support us the best," said Appleberry.

The duo will host a Lunar New Year celebration in January to build excitement and connection with the Mandarin-Chinese language.


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