John Witherspoon News

This fall we are again excited to offer Mandarin at JW. Parents and students, please read together and carefully, the following description and parameters for this course. The class offers students the rare opportunity to enhance their school experience by taking a second world language during middle school.

• This is a class for 7th graders and is the first year in a two-year sequence. Students and parents make a two-year commitment.

• It will meet five days per week during the “0” period at JW – 7:45am – 8:32am.

• The course begins on Monday, September 16th.

• By taking this class in 7th grade and in 8th grade students will be eligible to enter Mandarin II at Princeton High School in the fall of their 9th grade year.

• This class is IN ADDITION TO the French or Spanish class that students already study during periods 1 – 8. Every student must continue with French or Spanish studies.

• This class is for true beginners in Mandarin. It is for students with no background in Mandarin either in their family or from outside coursework. If your child has studied Mandarin then this class is not for him/her. The course title is Mandarin 1.

• A NJ certified instructor, Weefen Tsui, will again teach the course and will conduct the classes in Mandarin. There will be no English in the classroom.

• There will be homework each night during the school week and assessments during class. Many assignments will require either home access to a computer and the internet or the need to use a computer at school or at the library. The assignments will require 10 – 15 minutes at most to complete.

• Students will earn course grades that will become part of the student’s transcript.

• Families need to provide their own transportation to get to JW. (With the change in the high school schedule, there is no longer the option to take a PHS bus in the morning.)

• There is no cost for the class. Support for this class comes from the Princeton Public Schools and the Confucius Classroom Program sponsored by Asia Society and Hanban, the educational outreach program of the Chinese government.

• This year there will be one class of 7th graders and one continuing class of 8th graders. Our first cohort of Mandarin students graduated from the high school in June 2017.

• Each student will receive a soft-covered textbook on loan from JW, and a workbook that is theirs to keep in which they will write.

• We expect that students who enroll in this course will remain in it for the duration of 7th and 8th grades, will arrive on time every day, will come to class every day and will complete all in-class and out-of-class work.


We ask that all parents discuss the details and requirements of this exciting program with their child PRIOR to seeking entry into the course. We expect that once again demand for the class will be high so, please, be certain that both parents and child are prepared to make the considerable commitment to the Mandarin class.  This letter is posted on the JW site in the spring and, additionally, is sent to each 7th grade family in the packet of school information mailed home prior to the start of school. Mrs. Russel will visit most, if not all, of the 6th grade French and Spanish classes to answer questions and pass out registration forms to interested students.

Please send an email (do not phone) to Priscilla Russel to enroll your student in the class or to ask any questions about the program, Additionally, parents and student will need to read, sign, and return the class commitment form and return it to Mrs. Russel.

Mandarin 7 Class Commitment Form

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