VAIS receives designation as Confucius Classroom

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Posted Wednesday, September 16, 2015 -- 8:08 a.m.

"We are a 50/50 Chinese immersion, so anytime you walk into a Chinese classroom, one of the things that you're going to see is that the lessons are taught entirely in Chinese."

Like in Ms. Song's 2nd grade class, where they spend every morning learning Chinese, and in the afternoons it's back to English.

"Even in Kindergarten," explains director Barbara Drake, "We start out with the Chinese immersion so those students are exposed to Chinese and they figure out very, very quickly what the teacher's talking about."

The Verona Area International School is the first and only Chinese immersion school in Wisconsin, and now it is the first public school in the state to receive designation as a Confucius Classroom by Hanban Institute Headquarters in Beijing.

"Their mission or goal is to really spread Chinese language and culture around the world. The reason is exciting because there's $10,000 a year in support for our Chinese curriculum from the Chinese Hanban Institute that comes to us, it's renewable every year for 3 years and even possibly after that," says Drake.

Teachers will also receive learning materials, and students will be given the opportunity to travel to China, providing everyone with the greatest resources in the classroom and for the future.

"I think students coming out of VAIS are going to be prepared to take their place in that world. We just feel very proud of the work that we're doing to promote international peace, international understanding, I think it's a mission that goes beyond Verona and beyond Wisconsin."