Introduction


Background:
Founded in summer of 2004, the American Chinese School (ACS) was registered with the Sates of Maryland under the current name--American Chinese School. It was incorporated into a nonprofit organization under a Board of Directors under Section 501 (c) (3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. It has been offering Chinese language and cultural classes for students from Kindergarten though Grade 12 for the community since then.
Since its foundation, ACS has strived to make the children’s learning experience educational and fun with small class size. The school maintains a high standard of academic excellence and emphasizes character development and community service. It also provides a challenging environment where talented students are encouraged to develop their abilities to their full potential.

With a reputation of outstanding faculty and demanding program, ACS has attracted students from the whole metropolitan area, and grown and expanded quickly. ACS had 85 students in the first semester when it started in the fall of 2004. It currently grows into three campuses with an enrollment of 700 students from the states of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia (DC). Five years of development marks a milestone in the significance of ACS’s growth. American Chinese School also provides an educational setting for people of the Washington metropolitan area to learn the modern Chinese language using Pin-Yin (phonetic writing system) and simplified characters.

Mission Statement

American Chinese School provides a varied and rigorous educational experience for our students. We empower our students to become independent learners, critical thinkers, and culturally competent citizens. We strive to encourage students to cherish Chinese culture and heritage, foster and enhance friendship among Chinese-American community, and contribute to the mutual understanding and appreciation of Chinese and other cultures. American Chinese School is dedicated to serving the community and helping parents fulfill their goal of enabling their children to compete in a global society.

Teachers

A great deal of the school effectiveness research has focused on the relationship of teacher qualifications to classroom processes and student learning. Two of the most commonly used proxy measures for teacher preparedness are teachers’ educational attainment (Fuller, 1987; Windham, 1988) and years of teaching experience (Avalos, 1985). In addition, research has found that teacher training program has effect on student learning and performance.

Most teachers at the American Chinese School have obtained a higher education degree. In addition, many of them are Ph. Ds holders and they have many years of Chinese language teaching experience. Half of our teachers have participated the special training tailored for those who are teaching Chinese as a foreign language in the United States. They have been certificated for Chinese language teaching by the Confucius Institute of University of Maryland, and the professionals from the Chinese Language Office of China.

Curriculum

A Romanization system known as Pinyin has been used to teach pronunciation and character recognition at all levels. Classes have emphasized proper tonal pronunciation, a particularly important aspect of the Chinese language. In addition, Chinese characters have been taught using simplified Chinese characters, known as jian ti zi. Two different sets of text books are available for parents and students to choose.

Paralleled with the textbooks published by the Chinese Language College of Jinan University in China, textbooks written and edited by Doctor Ma Liping, a Ph. D graduated from the University of Stanford University, has been adapted for students to learn. Kuaile Hanyu (Happy Chinese), textbooks published by China’s National Language Office (Hanban), are recommended to bilingual classes for both adults and children at Confucius Classrooms which collaborate with the Confucius Institute of the University of Maryland. Two hours of Chinese language classes are offered on each Saturday. In addition, various elective classes are offered to adults and children, including fine arts, Yuga, dance, music, English writing, martial arts (Chinese Kongfu) and sports, etc.

Parental Involvement

The school welcomes --and expects-- parent involvement. The school is run by volunteers and we welcome parents to volunteer their time and services as well. Parents are an important part of the children's education. Parents may volunteer their services, participate in class activities, and attend parent meetings and social events. ACS also sponsors and offers various activities and services for parents and grandparents, such as rentals of Chinese reading materials and video tapes, athletic activities, and lectures and discussions on variety of subjects.