West Orange Chinese Program Is Now Nationally Recognized

(L-R) Yajing Li and Ani Marti stand with Chinese students Olivia Taylor, Daniel Campbell, Sabrina Tan, Emily Montgomery, Belle Zhang, and Emily Ali. Credits: Cynthia Cumming
Principal Xavier Fitzgerald welcomes everyone to Edison Middle School. Credits: Cynthia Cumming
The BOE convenes December 3, 2012. Credits: Cynthia Cumming
World Languages Supervisor Ana Marti gives a presentation on the Chinese Language Program in the West Orange School District. Credits: Cynthia Cumming
Yajing Lee, Chinese Teacher, Ana Marti, Donna Rando, Asst. Superintendent, Interim Superintendent Jim O'Neill, and Laura Lab show the plaque the Chinese Program received. Credits: Cynthia Cumming

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Principal Xavier Fitzgerald of Edison Middle School welcomed the board and audience to EMS this evening, and the West Orange Board of Education recognized the Mandarin Chinese Language program, available to grades 8-12 in the West Orange School District. The program has become one of only 100 Chinese programs nationwide that is recognized and accredited for its rigor, success, and interactive involvement with China and is now considered a national Confucious Classroom Resource Center.

The program begins in 8th grade and continues through 12th grade with an AP Chinese class.  The initial work to establish the program was begun in 2007 by Ed Acevedo, former World Languages Supervisor, and current Principal at Hazel Elementary School.  Ana Marti, the current World Languages Supervisor, provided the audience with the background on the program. Through a reciprocal relationship established with the Asian Society and Hanban in China, the high school began working with The Hangzhou Foreign Language School in Bejing. For the past four years, the school has received grant monies from the Chinese government to help fund the program in amounts ranging from $10,000 to $51,000.  Unique technology and computers are provided to the students, who utilize them for studies and communication with their counterpart school in Hangzhou.  

Several Administrators have traveled to China as part of the program, as well as students.  Many have attended the highly competitive two week Hanban Summer Camp in Bejing, and exchange students from the Hangzhou School have been to West Orange.  Ms. Marti will be speaking at the NCLC Confucious conference this month, and the school was gifted a large brass plaque announcing it as a "Confucious Classroom at West Orange High School."

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Yajing Li, the district's Mandarin teacher, was applauded by Marti for her dedication and passion for imparting a love of the Chinese language to her students and her tireless efforts to make them academically successful.  Several students were given certificates of recognition for their participation in the Hanban Summer Camp and for outstanding scores on the Chinese Language exam.  

Interim Superintendent O'Neill advised the audience of the bomb threat at Roosevelt Middle School this morning and the modified lockdowns at WOHS and Pleasantdale due to the armed robbery at TD bank this afternoon. He, along with the board members, explained their support to hire former WOHS Principal Arthur Alloggiamento as an interim assistant principal at WOHS while Kim Mancarella was on maternity leave.  The general consensus  was that his per diem rate was comparable to other districts for his experience level, and that he would not require training to do the job.  Parents were assured that the Administrative staff, including Hayden Moore and the other Assistant Principals, were on board with the decision.

There were no incidences of HIB (Harrassment, Bullying and Intimidation) reported in the district for the month of November.

After public comments, which included the announcement of the West Orange African Heritage Organization's Kwaanza Event on December 20, 2012, from 6:30-9:30 pm at Edison Middle School, by Cynthia Hadley-Bailey, the meeting adjourned at 9:40 pm.

The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, December 17, at Mt. Pleasant School.


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