Nov. 6, 2006

DHS leads the way in new education

By Nathan J. Barten
Staff member

In the last two months, China has started an exciting and unprecedented venture, they have started investing in foreign industry.

Currently, they only have a few billion dollars in circulation outside their own boarders, but with one of the fastest growing economies in the world, that money is a mere taste of what companies around the world are snapping to get at.

As this new market opens up and begins to influence the new global economy, educators from Portland to Paris must look forward in order to keep students competitive in the era of globalization.

Delano High School is once again leading the state in education innovation by introducing a Chinese language program to the curriculum.

According to Asia Society, an online resource for Chinese programs in high school, Delano is currently one of 13 high schools in Minnesota, and only 265 in the country, teaching the language.

Now, nearly two months into the new school year, Delano’s new Chinese language program is doing even better than Principal Dr. Bruce Locklear had hoped when introducing the program.

There are currently 20 to 25 students enrolled in the day class and a new night class has recently been added because of the overwhelming interest in this new language option offered by Delano Schools.

There is even a possibility of opening the night class up to the public once the students are ensured the opportunities they deserve.

While language programs in many high schools across the country are having their ftinding cut, it may seem strange that Delano is adding a new language, especially one as unfamiliar as Chinese, but becoming multi-lingual is important in the much smaller world we now live in.

Dr. Locklear tries to “look at leveling the playing field as much as possible” for Delano students.

Today, college bound businesses majors are looking at needing at least a language minor to complete their degrees at many universities.

Because of this, Delano needs to reinforce its commitment to foreign languages “if students are going to be competitive.” said Locklear.

The decision to teach Chinese was made, in part, because of Delano’s long standing relationship with Purple Cloud School in Tanggu, China. Tanggu is on the eastern edge of China, south of Shanghai.

For 15 to 16 years Delano has traded information, students, and educators with this sister school across the Ocean.

Several of these trips have been led by Delano teacher Leo Pospichal, leader of the Chinese Club at the high school. It is in a large part due to his efforts that Delano Schools were able to bring this new and exciting opportunity to its students.

Delano High School tried to bring a teacher over from the sister school, but after problems with obtaining a visa only weeks before school started, Dr. Locklear was forced to look elsewhere.

Luckily, he was able to find Mr. Wang. Wang speaks Mandarin and has a Ph.D in English literature.

With Wang’s help, the Chinese program is off to a great start giving Delano students a leg up in the competitive market after high school whether they go directly into the job market, on to college or any other career path they embark on.

As Locklear said, “with trends moving toward globalization of the workforce, economy and the introduction of e-business, we are trying to give our students every advantage possible here at Delano High School.”

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