Creating Bridges to Chinese-English Culture and Language

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PUBLISHED October 20, 2018

Recently, the bank sponsored and supported the seventh annual Mandarin Excellence Initiative (MEI) conference in collaboration with Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles. In our third year of partnership, the East West Bank Mandarin Excellence Initiative offers generous grants to support Mandarin language education in Los Angeles K-12 schools. The purpose of the initiative is to provide schools and students with accessible resources and further support Mandarin education.

Held at Felicitas & Gonzalo Mendez High School in Boyle Heights, the annual MEI conference convenes school administrators, Mandarin educators, community members, parents and aspiring teachers together to network, exchange ideas, and share resources. The one-day conference also featured an awards ceremony for the MEI Scholarship Program and Best Practice Awards recipients in the morning followed by various discussions by a renowned group of education experts and professionals.

This year, MEI Scholarship awards were given to 17 LA-area high school students who have demonstrated sincere interest and achievement in Mandarin language study, empowering them to improve their fluency in Mandarin and understanding of Chinese culture through a two-week homestay study trip. The trip was in Taiwan this year and Shanghai, China, the previous years.

The Best Practices Award recognizes local public schools that embrace the best practices in Mandarin instruction, offering awardees resources and opportunities to support their Chinese language programs. This year, three schools were granted awards:  Broadway Elementary, Castelar Street Elementary, and El Sereno Middle School.

The applicants reflected the diverse student body of LAUSD and included Caucasian, African American, Latino, Chinese and other Asian students. Also, there was a mix of non-heritage and heritage speakers with varying Mandarin experience from less than 1 year to over 6 years.

We are pleased to promote and strengthen Mandarin language instruction, and would like to once again congratulate all the schools, teachers and students of the Mandarin Excellence Initiative.