Rowland Unified School District

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Alvarado Students Share the Meaning of Chinese New Year with Blandford Students Thanks to Cultural Grant



Blandford Elementary and Alvarado Intermediate Students Learn

Chinese Language & Culture


ROWLAND HEIGHTS, CA JANUARY 26, 2009 – Thanks to a Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) Grant, students at Blandford Elementary and Alvarado Intermediate in Rowland Unified are learning about Chinese language and culture. To celebrate the Chinese New Year, 13 middle school students from Alvarado will be visiting Blandford Elementary students today and tomorrow from 3:15 – 4:20 p.m. to share their research projects about one of the most important and joyful festivals in Chinese culture.

            FLAP Teacher Corrina Shih and her Alvarado students took a field trip to the Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights (the largest Chinese Buddhist Temple in the Western Hemisphere.) Students were so amazed with their tour; they did further research projects and have made display boards to share with the younger FLAP students.

            “This is the second year of our FLAP Grant, which has allowed us to expand Chinese and Korean culture and language in our schools,” said Barbara Okiishi, Director of Bilingual Education. “We are so proud of the cultural education provided to students in Rowland Unified. Both of our high schools – Rowland and Nogales – offer Chinese, French and Spanish. Rowland High School also offers Korean, at Nogales they also offer Tagalog. Spanish is offered at our middle schools and Chinese at Blandford Elementary School.”  Okiishi added that many elementary schools are working towards being International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program schools that will offer foreign language.

            The three-year $321,000 FLAP grant also helps support the District’s Bilingual Competency Award Program. Rowland is one of three districts in the state of California to offer this awards program to graduating seniors who have taken four years of the same foreign language and/or who have passed an AP or District-based exam.

            If the FLAP grant is funded for a third year, Okiishi plans next year to add another Chinese/Mandarin class at Alvarado, a fourth Korean Class at Rowland High School and sustain the after-school enrichment program at Blandford Elementary.

            “These programs reflect Rowland Unified as an exemplary District that is committed to supporting foreign language education and the nurturing of the many cultures we serve in our community,” said Okiishi.

            The Rowland Unified School District is proud to serve 17,500 students at 23 elementary and secondary schools in the communities of Rowland Heights, Walnut, La Puente, City of Industry, and West Covina. For more information about Rowland Unified, call (626) 965-2541 or visit 
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