by: PHOTO BY DAVID F. ASHTON - The racial composition of students who will be admitted to the Woodstock Elementary School [shown] Mandarin Immersion Program is about to change, PPS leaders say. The Portland Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education members voted on January 27 to establish a new Mandarin Immersion Program at King Elementary School, a Vietnamese Dual Language Immersion Program at Roseway Heights, and a Spanish Immersion Program at Sitton Elementary School, when classes resume next fall.

They also voted changes to the popular Mandarin Immersion Program at Woodstock Elementary School. PPS officials held a meeting on the topic on October 16, as covered in the HYPERLINK "" November issue of THE BEE.

Families hoping enroll their child in current the Mandarin Chinese Immersion Program at Woodstock K-5 School are learning that the admission rules are changing. In the fall, PPS will “adjust” the lottery that selects which students will be able to enroll – reserving 41 % of admissions for native Chinese speakers.

“We are thrilled to be able to expand our Dual Language Immersion programs. Dual Language programs significantly reduce the dropout rate for emerging bilingual students,” said PPS Superintendent Carole Smith.

“We join our Vietnamese and Chinese community partners in applauding expansion of Dual Language Immersion with an explicit focus on addressing racial disparities,” remarked Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon Executive Director Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons.

Members of the local community have yet to speak out regarding this substantial admissions policy shift.

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